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Can pets get the coronavirus?

Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

With many Americans under order to shelter at home and leave only for necessities, we're spending more time than ever with our pets.

Wet puppy noses and sandpaper cat kisses may be a balm for our souls during this time of stress and extended social isolation. But can our physical closeness to our pets affect our health -- or theirs?

Here's a look at the latest advice from experts about keeping everyone in your household safe.

-- Can pets become infected with the new coronavirus?

It's incredibly unlikely.

There are many kinds of coronaviruses out there, and some of them can make cats and dogs sick. Scientists, however, say it is highly unlikely that our pets can be infected by SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.


The World Health Organization has said there is no indication that a dog or cat can transmit the virus to humans or to any other living thing, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not received any reports of pets becoming ill from exposure to it.

"At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 or that they might be a source of infection in the United States," according to the CDC.

Perhaps this will help put your mind at ease: A prominent veterinary diagnostics firm has reported testing thousands of cats and dogs for the virus, and not one has tested positive.

"It appears that companion animals are not infected easily with SARS-CoV-2," said Dr. Gail Golab, chief veterinary officer for the American Veterinary Medical Assn. "We have little to no evidence that they become sick, and there is no evidence that pets can transmit SARS-CoV-2 to people or other pets."


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