Based on a study released Friday (18 September), cat and dog owners suffering from COVID-19 can actually pass their illness to their pets.
According to AFP, the COVID-19 virus is a “zoonotic” infection which means it has transmitted into humans from animals. While there is little evidence that pets play a major role in spreading the virus, there is evidence that cats, dogs, and even tigers can catch it.
Photo via sciencemag.org
In the latest preliminary research, the veterinary science experts in Canada tested the pets of a group of people with confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.
In the first group, they took swabs from 17 cats, 18 dogs, and one ferret whose owners had a diagnosis within two weeks. These were all negative for current illnesses except for one unclear result.
Then blood antibody tests were given to eight cats and 10 dogs, whose owners were outside of the two-week window, comparing these to control samples taken from the same animals before the pandemic.
Among the cats, the results indicated the presence of IgG and IgM antibodies in 50% and 38% respectively, while two dogs also tested positive.
Photo via Borneo Post Online
All cats and one of the dogs with antibodies were reported to have shown signs of respiratory or other illnesses at the same time as their owners.
However, independent experts commenting on the research said that the sample size was too small to draw broad conclusions and that pet owners should not be alarmed.
Professor of Medical Microbiology, University of East London, Sally Cutler said that there was not enough evidence to warrant people attempting to isolate from their animals.
“Pets can be a source of comfort for humans especially when unwell. It had not yet been demonstrated whether pets could be a source of human infection,” she added
The World Health Organization (WHO) also said that it was unclear whether infected animals pose a risk to humans.
WHO also said that at least two farmers in the Netherlands were found to be infected with COVID-19 in May, most likely by the mink which could be “the first known cases of animal-to-human transmissions.”
Not to worry, guys, there’s no need to quarantine yourself from your pets just yet! But make sure you wash your hands before and after hugging them!
By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat