Will the Coronavirus affect my pets?

Will the Coronavirus affect my pets? This is a question more and more pet owners are asking as the virus spreads across the globe.
The Centers for Disease Control in the US and World Health Organisation (WHO) have reported that there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19. According to the CDC, people who are sick with COVID-19 should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just as they would with other people. Individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 should avoid contact with animals, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food; those who must be around animals should wear an appropriate facemask and wash their hands thoroughly before and after interacting with those animals
The World Veterinary Association confirmed that a dog in Hong Kong had tested positive for COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The dog belonged to a 60-year-old  woman who is currently in isolation and being treated for the virus.
“The canine has been placed in quarantine for 14 days as a precaution but has no ‘relevant symptoms’, Hong Kong officials said. Nasal and oral cavity samples tested weak positive for COVID-19.”
The World Veterinary Association, and South African veterinary officials, are keeping a close watch on the virus. The EberVet Petcare Group, which comprises Country Animal Clinic, EberVet Pet Clinic and EberVet Vetshops, is staying up to date with developments and we will alert our clients should the situation change

The Coronavirus is thought to have originated in the Pangolin or a bat sold at an illegal wildlife market in Wuhan, China

The Coronavirus and pets: what you should know

1. Dogs and cats have their own Coronaviruses which are NOT infectious to humans in any way. In fact, the diseases they cause in dogs and cats are completely different to COVID-19.
2. At present, only one dog has tested positive for COVID-19 – and not in South Africa. It is believed that the dog was infected via  contamination from its owner who carried the virus, and not because he himself carried the virus. Tests are ongoing to verify this.
3. There is currently no vaccine available for pets for COVID-19 but since Coronaviruses tend to be species-specific it is unlikely that a vaccine will be needed for pets as they are unlikely to get the disease.
4. There is no reason to stress about COVID-19 in your pets.
It is, however, ALWAYS important to practice personal hygiene with your pets. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soapy water after contact with them.
 The EberVet Petcare Group will continue to monitor the outbreak and will inform clients should anything come to light regarding pets, and what further precautions might be needed.  – Dr Ingrid de Wet, Country Animal Clinic