The close coexistence of dogs and cats with us humans makes us share many things, including viruses, bacteria and diseases. Throughout this pandemic there have been some cases of domestic animals and others such as tigers, minks, otters, deer and gorillas infected with coronavirus. Can your dog or cat get Covid? In general, the answer is yes, but experts explain what the implications of this contagion are.
In the world, some zoo and farm animals have been infected with Covid-19 by their keepers. Such is the case of gorillas at the Atlanta Zoo who contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus through an asymptomatic worker; or the dramatic case of the hundreds of thousands of minks that were slaughtered on European farms for being infected with Covid.
These infections have shown that Covid-19 can be transmitted from humans to animals, but the risk of them transmitting it to people is low. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, if you have pets at home and they are sick with Covid, you must protect them from spreading them.
Given the rapid increase in infections caused by the Omicron variant and its high level of contagion, concern for companion animals is rekindled. As with other people, if someone in your household has a confirmed or suspected Covid diagnosis, they should avoid close contact with household pets. This means that you should not pet them, kiss them, snuggle, share food, or sleep in the same bed with them.
What do I do if I think my pet has Covid?
The CDC notes that only in rare cases do pets become seriously ill from Covid-19, generally have mild symptoms, and make a full recovery with home care. Some symptoms that dogs, cats or ferrets can present are:
– Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
– Lethargy (fatigue or slowness)
– Runny nose
– Eye discharge
– Vomiting and diarrhea
In that case it is necessary to contact the veterinarian to indicate a treatment. Preferably it should not be taken to the office or clinic to prevent it from infecting other animals. Also important keeping them isolated at home, including cats, to prevent the spread of the virus.
If you care for a pet with Covid-19 at home, you should protect yourself in the same way as if you were taking care of a sick person– Wear a mask, keep separate areas, limit contact as much as possible, and wash hands frequently.
Pets can also be given a diagnostic test to determine the infection or to see if they have already developed the disease. It is recommended terminate isolation of a companion animal when it shows no symptoms for at least 72 hours without medical attention, when at least 14 days have passed since the last positive test, or when all follow-up tests for infection are negative.
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