COVID-19 and Pets

2 March 2020

The spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to make the news with new cases in the human population being reported on a daily basis.

The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) recently announced that a pet dog of a COVID-19 infected patient has tested ‘weak positive’ for the virus however, further tests are currently being carried out to determine if it is a true infection or if it is due to environmental contamination of its mouth and nose. In a statement, AFCD said that the dog had not shown any symptoms and there was no evidence to suggest that pets could contract the coronavirus or be a source of infection in people. Further information is available here.

WSAVA have issued updated advice to its member associations, including BSAVA, that includes frequently asked questions which vets in practice may find useful. The WSAVA advice can be accessed here. Please keep in mind that WSAVA is a global organisation and its advice reflects operations at global level. Situations will vary by country and a degree of flexibility should be borne in mind when applying advice at local level.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has already issued advice stating there is no evidence that companion animals such as dogs and cats can be infected with COVID-19. WHO have produced an infographic which veterinary practices may find helpful to share on their websites or via social media to allay any fears clients might have about the virus and their pets. It can be accessed here.