Covid and pets: what you need to know

Covid and your pets is in the news again, with many pet owners worried that they may ‘catch’ Covid from their dogs or cats. Our vets would like to put your minds at ease. Firstly, there have been very few cases of Covid transmission involving pets and these have all been from owners to pets, not the other way round.

“Once infected from a human it is possible for pets to pass the virus on to other members of their same species,” says Dr Leon de Bruyn, president of the SA Veterinary Association.  However,  internationally acclaimed studies thus far have shown this has only  happened in cats in a laboratory setting.

Asked whether there was data showing pet-to-owner transmission of Covid-19, Dr de Bruyn said there have been genetic tests showing that mink may have infected people on a mink farm. We, however, have no proven evidence that pets can pass Covid-19 to humans.  “Since we suspect bats to be the origin of the virus, I would however be careful in the unlikely event of having a bat as a pet,” he said.

“The good news is that if a cat or very occasionally a dog becomes infected due to contact with an infected owner, they may not show any symptoms at all. If they do get sick, it is very mild, and pets seem to recover without any problems,” according to Dr Morné de Wet of Cottage Vet Clinic in Gordon’s Bay. “We are always available for advice should you think your pet may have Covid.”

If you test positive for Covid 19, simply observe the usual rules though our veterinarians discount the need for PPE around your pets.  According to veterinarian Dr Esmaré van der Walt of EberVet Pet Clinic, a recent talk by Dr Angelique Coetzee, president of the South African Medical Association, highlighted the fact that infection via aerosol is the main means of  Covid transmission, and that spread from contact is not as serious as was initially believed so isolating yourself from your pet is unnecessary.



Department of Health COVID-19 updates available at


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