We are all in an extremely unique situation in the world today. With Coronavirus now spreading worldwide it really has all of us a bit concerned and stressed. Whether it is being worried about personally becoming sick or someone in our family getting sick. Everyone is paying close attention.
Anytime something happens in our life with respect to our health, it directly affects our dog. When we are sick, we rely on our dogs to keep us company, give us love and of course a feeling of support. They are part of the family.
Coronavirus is getting worse and worse by the day. More people are getting sick at an alarming rate. My question is what about our dogs. Can dogs get Coronavirus virus? Should we be worried if we are sick that we can pass it to our dogs?
According to a “dog owner survey” done by Statista.com in 2017 there were approximately 89.7 million dogs in homes. That was 3 years ago, so I am sure that number is much larger. This is why many people are so concerned about their dogs through this Pandemic.
Here is some of the latest news and best information. I also have a great Q & A section to help give us even more answers to those lingering questions that we have.
We all know that this virus started in China. In late February in Hong Kong, a Pomeranian tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) or Coronavirus.
Now before you get startled, it was determined that the dog had a weak positive to the virus. The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said in a fact sheet that the dog was tested for the virus in sensitive testing and found viral RNA in nose and mouth samples.
They determined that more testing needed to be done to determine if the dog actually had the virus. The dog of course was put under quarantine. Hong Kong’s agriculture department has also come out to say that their is no hard evidence to support saying that dogs can be infected.
Q & A
Shelley Rankin, who is a microbiologist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia, whose lab is part of the U.S. FDA Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network, answered some questions.
Are we capable of passing the virus to our dogs?
Currently there is no evidence that supports that the virus can be passed from animal to human. The virus is spread human to human only.
But what about the dog in Hong Kong who tested positive?
Her response was that this was just one case and the Hong Kong dog has small numbers of virus particles. More research needs to be done to really understand the potential of Covid-19 between humans and the capability of infecting animals.
If I become infected, should my dog also be tested?
At some point, this will need to be a conversation that we have, but right now this is not a top priority for us.
Is there a chance that our dog’s could be a carrier then pass the virus onto us?
When and if we learn dogs can become infected, then yes they could be a reservoir for the virus. Then in that case we would need to be vigilant just like with humans. They would need to go get tested and we would need to find a course of treatment for them.
What would the protocol be if our dog is infected, would we quarantine them?
Yes the protocol would be the exact same. You would need to quarantine your dog and try to eliminate any contact with other people and other animals.
Is there anything we can do to help our dogs right now?
Yes, we can be prepared. If you do become sick and become quarantined away from your dog, it is important to make sure you have a back up plan. Have a friend, neighbor or family member be prepared to step in. Keep a good stock of dog food, and treats for your dog just in case.
The WHO (World Health Organization) has said that the Coronavirus (Covid-19) is spread through nasal and oral pathways from humans to humans.
What we do know right now is that yes dogs have a small chance of being infected with the Covid-19 (Coronavirus). Just like humans, mammals have the same type of receptors. So to answer the question I posed “Can dogs get the Coronavirus”….yes those receptors can become infected just like humans, but it is just less likely to get into their cells. Slim really!
When and if dogs do need to become tested, the College of Veterinary Medicines Veterinary Diagnostic Labratory now have the capabilities to test. As of March 15, they have acquired the equipment required to complete this testing.
Be prepared though, because of course, with most things at the Veterinary, the test is not cheap. Limited capacity for testing is also something that may be an issue. Veterinarians in most places are small and have limited ability to handle a ton of dogs at one time.
I know we don’t know what is happening from one day to the next, the bottom line is we need to be smart. Whether it’s social distancing, staying home or under quarantine, we must not forget about our dogs.
When I say be responsible, I mean to take all the recommended precautions we have been given:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer
- Practice good hygiene
- Wear a face mask
- If you are infected, have limited contact with your dog
- Cover your nose and mouth if you sneeze with your elbow
- Don’t have people over to the house
Try to practice all of these recommendations daily and we can do our part to try to stop the spread of this scary virus.
I hope that you enjoyed reading my post and that you walked away with some of your questions answered. We are all in this together, that means me, you and of course our dogs. Sending my thoughts and warm wishes to everyone. From my family to yours, which of course includes my baby FERGUS!
♥ Be a good dog parent and be safe!!!