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COVID-19 and Dogs and Cats

We have had a few clients express concern regarding COVID-19 and dogs and cats. For the most part we do not know! But this article has up-to-date information for veterinarians and pet owners. 

Here are a few "bullet points": 

1. While a few noted dogs have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, no dogs have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to date. 

2. Researchers determined that, along with cats, a number of different feline species—cheetahs, leopards, tigers, and lions—are likely to be susceptible to the virus. So are ferrets. 

3. Dogs can develop antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 when they’re exposed, but the virus replicates poorly, and they do not transmit the virus to each other or to people. This is not the case in cats, who are largely asymptomatic but easily transmit the virus to other cats. 

4. [an infected person] petting your dog can transmit the virus to you via particles trapped in the dog’s fur—so wash your hands after such encounters. 

5. There have been no documented cases of cats [transmitting] SARS-CoV-2 to humans, only from human to cat and between cats. This suggests the risk is low for most people. But for the elderly or other high-risk populations, such as those with diabetes, it may be prudent to keep their cat inside and wash their hands after interacting with their pet, just in case. Ultimately, [infected] humans pose a bigger risk to endangered cats, like lions and tigers in zoos, than cats do to us.

Once you read this entire article, you will know as much about COVID-19 as I do!

Dr. Kimberly Daffner
(310) 376-0072

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