The Latest Advice about the Coronavirus and your Dogs

Last week, when a Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, dogs quickly became part of the coronavirus discussion. The issue raised a frightening possibility that dogs could be part of the transmission chain for severe ARV 2, which could potentially damage both pets and humans. However, a lot of issues remain about this possibility and the best way to respond.

As explained by the Hong Kong Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation (AFCD) in a fact sheet a few days ago, Pomeranian tested faintly positive for the virus insensitive tests that revealed viral RNA in mouth and nose samples. The dog suffers from a low level of infection and it is probably a case of human-to-animal transmission. AFCD said, they strongly recommend that mammalian pets, including dogs and cats from families with infected people, be quarantined to protect animal and public health.

According to experts, SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads from human to human. There is no research to support the spread of humans to animals at this time. Samples from a Hong Kong dog had a small number of virus particles present. In animals without any clinical signs of the disease, it is difficult to determine what this means. It was just a single case, and we knew we need to do more research on the possibility of the human SARS-CoV-19 virus infecting animals.

However, dogs and cats are mammals as well. They have many similar kinds of receptors on their cells just like a human. So theoretically the virus can attach to these receptors. But will the virus enter their cells and multiply? Maybe not. However, people with SARS CoV-19 should limit contact with their dogs or cats. Always wash your hand and don’t let your dog lick your face. If the virus is in your secretions, and there is any chance of transmission, these are ways they can be transmitted.

If your dogs are infected, then you should treat them the same way we treat human cases. Some may be quarantined in the hospital or a shelter or even doggy daycare. If they have the virus but are not sick, you can quarantine them at home. You may want to restrict contact with them. Maybe you will keep them in a separate room away from other animals and people. You may need to wash your hands frequently, and maybe wear a mask when entering the room.

It is very important to include your dogs in the family's preparedness planning. If you get sick and are quarantined, you need to make sure you have extra dog food on hand. And you should inform your neighbors of any feeding, exercise, or medication your dog needs in case you are unable to return home. Although right now, this is not everyone's top priority. However, it should be discussed, if we start to see more conditions like the Hong Kong Pomeranian.

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