The coronavirus has been affecting millions of people worldwide in the last couple of months. Many states in the U.S. have issued a Stay-At-Home order for their citizens. Because the coronavirus spreads easily through airborne transmission, people are continuing to stay at home for fear of contacting the virus.
This virus can also spread to animals. The first case of an animal testing positive in the U.S. was a tiger at a zoo in New York. Researchers believe that the tiger had gotten the virus after being exposed to a zookeeper who also had the virus. As of now, public health officials are still studying this virus, but it is likely that the virus can spread from people to animals.
“Animals are organisms that can be affected with the coronavirus like humans. Because this virus spreads easily, it would eventually affect animals too,” said Lily Hagan, a sophomore.
The U.S. government has recently announced that two pet cats in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus. These were the first known household pets in the U.S. to have the virus.
The CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has not been able to identify which animals are the most likely to get the virus, saying “We don’t know for sure which animals can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. CDC is aware of a small number of pets, including dogs and cats, reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19.”
“I believe that the animal that would most likely get the virus would be household pets. Pets are the most likely to get the virus because they have the most human interaction,” said Mackenzie Wilson, a sophomore.
Health officials recommend that someone contracted with the virus should stay away from their pets as they would other people until more information is learned. People should avoid petting, snuggling, sharing food and bedding, and being licked by their pet if they have the virus.
Animals can be tested for the coronavirus, but it is not recommended because the chances of infection are low. In order to get a pet tested, an owner must have an adequate reason for wanting the test and then the veterinarian must submit a request for a test kit.
There is no evidence that the virus can spread from animals to humans. Although certain bacteria and fungi can be carried on fur and hair of animals, viruses cannot be spread to people this way. It is always a good idea to practice healthy habits around animals, including washing hands before and after touching them.
According to the CDC, they are” working with human and animal health partners to monitor this situation and will continue to provide updates as information becomes available. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.”
Due to the low numbers of cases of animals contracting the virus, it is still safe to adopt pets during this time. Pet owners should observe their pets daily for signs of illness, and take them to the veterinarian if they notice anything unusual.