There were many different viruses and bacterias that stayed and replicated in the animals over the millennia. But every once in a while, we counter some viruses that transmit from animals to humans and create a pandemic. And today, coronavirus or COVID-19 has done just that and already infected more than 2 million people all over the world.
But the severity of the infection doesn’t limit to humans. In fact, it can attack any animal that has a lot of ACE-2 protein in its cells. And our beloved pets do fall into this category. Although experts suggest that normal pets like dogs and cats have a very low chance of getting infected, the pet owners are still worried about the well-being of their pets. And it’s quite understandable.
So, in this article, we collected some of the most important information that will help you understand how coronavirus affects your pet and how you can keep them safe.
What’s The Origin Of This Coronavirus?
The coronavirus or COVID-19 is a kind of zoonotic disease which means it jumped from animals to humans. Scientists did run some background checks of this virus to figure out which animal he virus came from.
And after an extensive DNA sample matching with previous records, they figured out that the source of the virus is a Chinese horseshoe bat. That means the virus first developed inside the bat species before spreading to others and finally to humans.
Interestingly, research suggests that the virus has spread from the bat to any other intermediatory animal species before it fully evolved. And experts believe that this mediatory animal species is a pangolin. As a lot of pangolins are illegally trafficked all over the world, it might have helped the COVID-19 spread around the globe.
However, the famous medical magazine Lancet says something else in their recent report. And according to the report, the first victims of COVID-19 didn’t expose themselves to the animal market. So, we can’t say for sure that coronavirus came to humans from the pangolins.
No matter what the real origin of COVID-19 is, we know that this virus can use any animal as their carrier. However, we still don’t know if coronavirus infects every single of those carrier species or not. That’s still subject to further research. But the experts are working hard to figure out the real origin or COVID-19. This is the only way to figure out in which environment this virus might develop and if it can hit us in the future too.
Can Coronavirus Infect Your Cats And Dogs?
The coronavirus doesn’t seem to have a problem being inside multiple animal species. Until now, we found COVID-19 in the various mammals and bird species. And this includes our favorite pets such as dogs and cats and as well as other animals like cows, pigs, and chickens.
And many people actually reported COVID-19 infection in some common household pets. For example, in Hong Kong, a 17-years-old dog reportedly found corona-positive in the March which is dead now. On the other hand, a cat-owner from Belgium reported that his cat is corona-positive too.
And according to the experts, the owners of the pets were infected too. And the chances are that the pets got the virus from their owners than the other way around. Also, scientists have conducted extensive research to figure out how likely it is that an animal species might get infected by COVID-19.
According to the results, now we know that a corona-positive cat might infect other corona-negative cats. And they can do it via their respiratory droplets. In the study, the scientists kept a corona-positive cat near three other cats with no corona infection. After a few days, the virus did transmit to the other three cats in just one single case. However, any of those cats didn’t show any symptoms of the disease.
On the other hand, the experiments on dogs gave us some light of relief. In the case of dogs, no additional dog got infected via the corona-positive dog. In fact, after a week, their body actually created a powerful immune response against COVID-19.
So, if you have a cat, then you should probably check if she’s corona-positive and keeps her away from the other cats.
Can COVID-19 Infect Other Animals?
There are numerous species whom COVID-19 can infect because those species have ACE-2 protein. The coronavirus has spikey projection outside of their body that can easily connect to the ACE-2 protein as it touches the cell with it. From there, the virus enters inside of the cell and starts its replication process.
And because of that, scientists are giving ACE-2 protein a lot of importance. In a recent study, experts conducted various experiments to figure out how COVID-19 uses the ACE-2 protein. Also, according to an article published on Microbes And Infections, the virus can effortlessly grab into the ACE-2 protein of the animal cells of many species. These species are bats, cats, pangolins, horses, pigs, goats, pigeons, sheep, and more.
In the US, the first case of COVID-19 infecting any animal species was confirmed on April 5th. A 4-years-old tiger in the Bronx zoo was the first-ever animal in the US to get this virus. And experts believe that the tiger probably got this virus from a zookeeper who was corona-positive.
And Can Your Pets Infect You With Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is still fairly new to us and there is a whole bunch of things we don’t know about it yet. And one of those unknown things is the exact condition and situation of its inter-species transmission. In other words, we still don’t have the evidence that humans can get COVID-19 from our domestic pets such as dogs and cats.
The director or AAHL, Dr. Trevor Drew clearly stated that there is still no evidence of anyone getting infected by COVID-19 from their pets. He and other scientists of AAHL are testing some vaccines on ferrets to see its effectiveness. However, the tests are still in the pre-medical trial so we might have to wait before getting the results.
But why ferrets?
That’s because these are one of those animal species that have a high possibility of attracting coronavirus. Still, according to Dr. Drew, it’s highly unlikely that the COVID-19 will transmit from the ferrets to its owners.
He also mentioned that the experts didn’t observe or notice any apparent disease in the infected ferrets. Yes, the ferrets’ body temperature did increase and the virus did replicate itself in their body too. But the replication process in a ferret’s body is really slow and in-effective. And that’s might be the reason why ferrets didn’t show any clear symptoms like humans.
So, can you get infected from your pet animal? Well, while there’s a really little possibility of that, it certainly not zero. The COVID-19 can survive in your pet’s fur for a long time. For example, the virus in the nasal droplets of your cat can live on its fur for a while. So, you should always be careful and wash your hand regularly.
Otherwise, the coronavirus can reach inside your body fairly easily.
Tips To Protect Your Pets From COVID-19
If you want to protect your pets from COVID-19, then you should treat them just like you would treat any other person in this situation.
First, if you’re feeling the symptoms of COVID-19 and suspect that you already came in contact with it, then go to the nearest clinic and test it immediately. Make sure you take full protection and wear a mask to further spreading the disease to other people. Then make sure you limit the contact with your pet too so they stay safe.
As we still don’t have any vaccine or definite medicine for COVID-19, practicing prevention is still the best way to protect your pets. Here are some measures you must take to ensure your pet’s safety:
- Make sure you keep washing your hand after a certain duration or whenever it might be necessary. Also, when you wash your hands, make sure you wash them for at least 20 seconds.
- Practice social distancing and stay at least 3 ft away from the people, especially those who are sneezing. Make sure you wear a good mask whenever you go outside of your home.
- Try to avoid touching the face every time. Yeah, we know that it’s very difficult to control the urge to touch your face. But considering that’s how the virus transmitted to most people, it’s worthwhile to at least try as much as you can.
- If you feel like you’re going to have a sneeze or cough, then wrap your elbow around your nose and mouth. This way, you can stop the virus from spreading in the air.
In The End…
In the end, the best way to protect your pets from coronavirus is to prevent yourself from being infected. Your pets are more likely to get infected by you than the chances of you getting infected from them. So, you have to take certain measures to keep your pets and yourself safe.
Make sure you stay inside your home and avoid unnecessary social interactions. Keep at least 3 ft distance from other people and wash your hands on a regular basis. Use a mask whenever you go outside. And if you suspect that you have COVID-19 infection, then restrict the interaction with your pet as much as possible.
As we don’t have any vaccine for coronavirus yet, taking precautions and prevention is the best available way to protect your pet right now.
Disclaimer: The information above should not be considered a medical recommendation. The content is written to enrich the reader’s knowledge. Any use of materials and content mentioned in this article should be first consulted about by a physician.