Coronavirus in cats and dogs

The coronavirus in dogs and cats is an issue that has aroused a lot of fear among pet owners, who have thought that they could get sick.

This virus is becoming more difficult to contain between the borders of a country; in Spain the number of people with coronavirus does not drop below two hundred and all of Europe is already on alert.

Although there is no evidence that the coronavirus in dogs and cats is a reality yet, Veterinary associations have indicated some guidelines to follow to protect canines and kittens of this new threat.

The coronavirus in dogs and cats is a well-founded concern because studies on the matter confirm that:

"The different viruses that make up this family cause infections in humans and most domestic animals, including bovids, suids, felids, equids and 8 birds ".

However, regarding Covid-19, Although its origin is in the bat, so far there are no data that can account for the presence of the coronavirus in dogs and cats.

Apparently, the viruses identified so far are not related to Covid-19, since their cellular tropism is different.

However, panic among the population arises because the current coronavirus is much more intelligent than the old ones and, therefore, is more diffusible.

Despite this, it is worth taking into account the classification that exists among the Coronaviridae family.

Article index

  • Coronavirus in dogs and cats
  • How to protect pets?
    • Coronavirus infection in domestic animals:

Coronavirus in dogs and cats

The Association of Spanish Veterinarians specializing in small animals has released an investigation in which they detail that:

"Coronaviruses alpha and beta usually infect mammals, while coronaviruses gamma and delta often infect birds and fish. The canine coronavirus, which can cause mild diarrhea, and the feline coronavirus, which can cause feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) they are both alpha coronavirus ".

They also add that:

"Until the appearance of belonging to beta coronaviruses, only six coronaviruses capable of infecting humans and causing respiratory diseases were known, including the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus SARS-CoV (identified in 2002/2003) and the coronavirus Middle East respiratory syndrome MERS-CoV (identified in 2012). "

The 2019-nCoV is more closely related, genetically speaking, to SARS than to MERS; however, both belong to the betacoronavirus range, which originate in bats..

How to protect pets?

Unfortunately, the focus on coronavirus has focused more on human-to-human transmission. But, there are those recommend not interacting with pets if you are sick with this virus.

The Global Community of Veterinarians (WSAVA) has tried to elucidate some concerns regarding the coronavirus in dogs and cats, and has done so together with the Canadian professor Scott Weese, attached to the University of Guelph.

Some of the concerns are related to the following points:

Coronavirus infection in domestic animals:

  • The answer is that there is no evidence that dogs and cats have been infected with coronavirus, or that they are at risk..
  • There is also no evidence to support the spread of pets to humans. However, as the investigations progress, the information will be updated..
  • If the person is sick with coronavirus, they should avoid contact with their pets.
  • Although there is no evidence to support human transmission to pets, It is known that there are several types of coronaviruses and that these can make animals sick and spread.
  • It is advisable to ask another family member for help to take care of the pet while the owner is sick..
  • If a person is sick with coronavirus, they should not pet their pet, kiss it or share food with it.
  • If it is not feasible for someone else to take care of the pet while the owner recovers, then the person becomes ill. you should wash your hands before and after approaching your pet, as well as wearing a mask.
  • If the pet owner is sick with coronavirus and then observes that their pet is ill, you should call the vet and notify him that the pet was in contact with a person suffering from coronavirus.
  • In the above case, the pet should not be taken to a clinic, until the veterinary clinic staff discusses the case and authorizes access.
  • The situation being handled is not precise, because it evolves quickly; but more information will be available soon.

In addition to these doubts, another concern that has arisen among pet owners is whether they can vaccinate them to protect them, in case of coronavirus infection in dogs and cats.

In this regard, it is known that there are specific vaccines on the market for canine coronavirus, but these are used to prevent enteric coronavirus infection. That is, there is no authorization for its use in case of respiratory infections..

So, no veterinarian should use these vaccines to act against the current outbreak. Well, maybe a professional thinks they can protect the pet.

But, the truth is that there is no evidence that vaccination for coronavirus in dogs and cats can work because there is no information on cross protection in cases of 2019-nCoV, given the differences between coronaviruses and enteric and respiratory viruses..

All pet owners should know that there are no vaccines on the market to treat respiratory infection of coronavirus in dogs and cats, so you should not allow any veterinarian to administer any type of vaccine for this purpose.

The coronavirus in dogs and cats still represents an unknown; Although there is no evidence that this may be possible, the information will be updated as more case data is obtained..

For the moment, pet owners can rest easy knowing that coronavirus in dogs and cats is not yet a reality.

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