Can My Dog or Cat Get Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The quick answer…nobody knows!

Coronaviruses have been around for many years and extensively studied. They are a group of viruses that typically cause disease in animals.  A brand new strain known as COVID-19 was discovered in China.  COVID-19, the new strain of coronavirus,  started in an animal (bats) and infected people. This is not the first virus that jumped species. The 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic showed up in humans, pigs, turkeys, cats, ferrets and dogs. Most of the data collected on the new strain of coronavirus is from the outbreak in China. As more people become affected here in the United States, we will begin to understand more how it behaves. 

In China a dog tested “weak positive” but did not have signs of disease. This dog is quarantined and they are monitoring the dog. The CDC (Center for Disease Control), WHO (World Health Organization) and the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) stated there is no evidence that it can pass to our pets. 

What we know

COVID-19 started in China and has affected over 93,000 people causing death in 2.3% of these people. The CDC showed in 2019 that 35.5 million people had influenza like illness and there were 34,200 deaths. The flu virus has a significantly less likely hood of death based on the current data. 

Clinical signs are fever, sneezing, coughing and respiratory distress (trouble breathing.) It can progress to death in the elderly or people who are immune compromised. 

It is transmitted by sneezing, coughing and secretions from sick people. These droplets can be inhaled, ingested or find ways into your body by you rubbing your eyes, mouth or nose. It can take up to or more than 14 days to incubate. 

Positive cases have shown up in over 76 countries. 

What we don’t know

How serious the disease is and how quickly it may spread.

How good the test is at detecting the disease in the general population. 

How many people in the general population may have it and not even know they have it. 

If other species, like cats, dogs, birds, etc, can be affected by the virus or spread the virus.

What do I do to protect myself and others

Stay home if you are sick and have flu like symptoms or a fever.

Stay away from your pets if you have flu like symptoms or a fever.

Stay away from sick people who have flu like symptoms or a fever.

Wash your hands with soap and water for a full minutes. Water dilutes viruses and bacteria so they have less chance of infection. Wash hands often and do not put your hands in your eyes, mouth or nose unless your hands are washed.

Cover your mouth with your elbow or a tissue when you sneeze or cough. Then wash your hands. 

Practice healthy habits: drink plenty of water, decrease sugar intake, get plenty of sleep, eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, exercise and learn to breath effectively.

Consider immune supplements like Vitamin C, Zinc, and Echinacea.

Check with your doctor if you have any chronic disease to see how you can protect yourself.

If you believe your pet is not behaving normally, not eating or drinking, of acting ill, please seek medical attention from your veterinarian as soon as possible.

More information:

World Health Organization