According to our previous article posted on March 10, 2020, we mentioned that pets are less likely to get infected with COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified no animals in the US were infected with the virus, and there is no evidence that dogs or other pets can spread COVID-19.
But there has been a recent development. According to CDC,
"It appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations, especially after close contact with a person with COVID-19."
The cases of household pets that were found to be infected by COVID-19 proved that a person could transmit the virus to animals. However, at this time, there is not much scientific evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus to humans.
According to CDC,
Several animals in zoological facilities have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, including large cats and great apes. Several lions and tigers in a New York zoo, a puma in South Africa, tigers in a Tennessee zoo, snow leopards at a Kentucky zoo, and gorillas at a California zoo tested positive SARS-CoV-2 after showing signs of illness. A cougar and tiger at a Texas facility that exhibits wild animals also tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. It is suspected that these animals became sick after being exposed to employees with COVID-19, despite the staff following COVID-19 precautions.
COVID-19 infection was seen in many different animals worldwide since the onset of the novel coronavirus disease in December 2019.
How to protect your pet from COVID-19 Infection?
To protect your pet from the SARS-CoV-2 infection, don't let your dog or cat interact with people or animals outside your household. For example:
- Avoid taking your pet to parks or public areas where many people and dogs gather.
- When walking your dog, make sure to put it on a leash and keep it at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people and animals.
- Do not put a mask on pets. Masks could harm your pet.
- Keep cats indoors when possible.
If you become sick with SARS-CoV-2 and have a pet,
- You should immediately restrict contact with pets and other animals and isolate yourself from house members.
- If possible, have another person in your household care for your pet.
- Avoid petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing foods or bedding with your pet.
- Wear a cloth face covering and gloves before caring for your pet.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling animals and their food, waste, and supplies.
- Also, make sure you clean up after your pet.
- If you need to take your pet to the vet, don't do it yourself. Either call your veterinarian home or ask your family member or friend to take it to the vet.
Strictly follow these preventive measures for SARS-CoV-2.
- Wash your hands
Wash your hands properly using soap and water to keep yourself and your pets from contracting COVID-19. Regularly rub your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub when going out or after coming.
- Maintain Distance
If you have any symptoms such as coughing or sneezing, maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and your dog.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth
Do not fidget your fingers with your eyes, nose, and mouth before or after petting your dog to ensure the safety of your family and pets.
- Practice respiratory hygiene
Make sure to cover your mouth or nose when sneezing or coughing. Use disposable tissue and mask whenever around your pets.
- Seek medical care early
Stay home or indoors if you have a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, seek medical attention, and call in advance.
- Stay informed
Stay informed about the latest developments about the COVID-19 pandemic, red zones, and possible vaccination drive in your community.
COVID-19 in Other Animals
The countries, namely; Hong Kong, Belgium, the U.S., Netherlands, France, Spain, Germany, Russia, Denmark, United Kingdom, Japan, South Africa, Italy, Sweden, Chile, Canada, Brazil, Greece, Argentina, and Lithuania, reported the cases of COVID-19 infection in different animals.
However, COVID-19 infections in Mink on farms have been reported in many countries, including numerous deaths related to the novel coronavirus. The infected workers likely introduced COVID-19 on a farm, and the infection spread from one animal to another.
After these incidents, mink farmworkers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 were provided with guidelines to avoid animal contact.
CDC is aware of reports of a new strain of COVID-19 virus in mink in Denmark that is also present in the local human population.
Based on Denmark reports, it appears that mink became infected after exposure to people infected with the virus and the virus then mutated and spread from mink back to humans.
This new strain, called “Cluster 5,” has not been seen before and comprises five mutations.
How has COVID-19 Pandemic prevented the consumption of Exotic Animals?
After the news of the first case of COVID-19 transmission came out from the wet market of Wuhan Province in China, experts opined that the zoological virus likely transmitted from eating an exotic animal’ (pangolin or bat) meat.
Following the Coronavirus outbreak throughout the Chinese province and later worldwide, the Chinese Government banned the sale and consumption of exotic and wild animals, including Pangolin.
According to NewsWeek.com,
In Shenzhen, China, a law was passed banning dog and cat meat, which will affect May 1, 2020. Known as the "Shenzhen Special Economic Region Regulation on a Comprehensive Ban on the Consumption of Wild Animals," the legislation was passed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It also bans the consumption, breeding, and sale of wildlife for human consumption in the city—including snakes, lizards, and other wild animals.
Pangolin, mostly found in the wild, depends on ants, termites, and larvae. Unfortunately, the pangolin is one of the most trafficked animals in the world. Many smugglers catch and traffic pangolins from Asia and African nations to China and Vietnam's famous black market for their meat. Pangolin's meat is considered a delicacy and is used in traditional medicine.
Researchers carried out different studies to learn more about the virus's transmission behavior on different animals. It shows that cats, dogs, ferrets, fruit bats, and hamsters can become infected with the virus.
Dogs can get infected but might not spread the virus to other dogs as quickly as other animals like cats and ferrets can spread the virus to the same animal species.
Laboratory mice, pigs, chickens, and ducks do not seem to become infected or spread the infection based on a study's results.
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