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Can Pets Get COVID-19, and Are Dogs and Cats At Risk of Getting the Coronavirus?

October 5, 2021
• Updated 4 months ago
• 4 min read
By: Shay Sng

Can pets get COVID-19?

Two of the questions pet owners are increasing asking is: Is my pet at risk of catching COVID-19? What will happen if my pet is infected with COVID-19?

This article aims to answer these 2 questions. 🙂

To some people, this may sound incredulous, as they may think that COVID-19 is a pandemic event for humans. They may think: How does COVID-19 even threaten the animals, when the humans are already busy fending for themselves? Pet owners may not think likewise.

News have reported that it is possible that pets can get COVID-19 too. To some extent, it depends on the authority on whether to test the animals which will lead to more discoveries (and potentially uncover more positive cases). If there's no testing, then we will not know if the pet is at risk or already infected unless they start displaying symptoms and fall sick.

Here's what may happen if a pet is suspected to be infected with COVID-19

  1. Vet will inform AVS
    If the veterinarian suspects that a pet may be infected with Covid-19, she'll inform the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS). You will need to call the vet and bring your dog or cat to them if you suspect your pet may be at risk (especially if they are in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case).
  2. Further Testing awaits
    AVS may work with the vet and the pet owner for further testing and isolation of the dog or cat as needed. Samples and PCR test may be required, as recommended by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
  3. Isolate the pet at home
    Depending on the animal's symptoms, the vet may recommend home isolation, instead of staying in hospital. Thus, the pet will have to stay at home except for medical care reasons and poop breaks.
  4. Separate and quarantine the pet from the family
    When the pet is in isolation, try to designate an isolation room or 'corner' at home for pet quarantine. Minimise contact, much like the same for human isolation cases.
  5. Monitor pet's symptoms
    Symptoms include fever, coughing, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, lethargy (unusual laziness or sluggish), sneezing, runny nose, eye discharge, vomiting, diarrhea.
  6. Completing home isolation!
    Follow your veterinarian’s advice on when the pet can return to be around people & other animals again. Look forward to cuddling the pet again once they are cleared & fully recovered!
  7. Stay healthy & maintain good hygiene
    Practise good cleaning habits for both hooman and pet! Wash hands regularly after handling the pets, their food and waste.

It's about protecting you, your family and your pet

As more people around the world vaccinates, the hope is that we may soon return to a more normal life. Still, the onus is on us pet parents to take steps to protect ourselves and the ones around us, including our dogs and cats. The transition to endemic reality may mean that more people will get the virus, and thus it is important to be aware on what this will mean and happen to our pets too.

Here's a visual summary for you pet owners - courtesy of the team from Pawmeal! 😊

Can Dogs and Cats get COVID-19, and Are They At Risk of Getting the Coronavirus?
Can Dogs and Cats get COVID-19, and Are They At Risk of Getting the Coronavirus?

What if your closed ones or a family member is tested positive or is issued a quarantine order instead, and you have a pet at home? This article elaborates on how to take precautions to protect your pet from a potential close contact high risk person.

Source: World Health Organization; World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Channel News Asia (30 Sep 2021), Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS)


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