The new strain of coronavirus from Wuhan, China (2019-nCoV) is believed to be a virus that jumped from animals (possibly bats via another species) to humans. While its contagiousness among people is a worldwide health concern, what about our pets?
Veterinarians at Texas A&M University report that there is currently no evidence that the new coronavirus affects dogs, cats, or other companion animals. This means that as far as we know, we cannot transmit it to pets and pets cannot transmit it to us.
Other types of coronavirus can affect pets, and are often specific to a particular species, meaning that dogs cannot pass them to cats and vice versa.
For instance, infectious tracheobronchitis complex (ITB), commonly known as kennel cough, is a coronavirus in dogs. Respiratory and intestinal coronaviruses are common in dogs, but they are often mild.
Dogs with coronavirus infection may have diarrhea, cough, or a runny nose.
In cats, coronavirus symptoms can be severe and may include diarrhea, fever, jaundice, weight loss, and fluid in the chest or abdomen, depending on the specific virus strain. The often-fatal disease FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) is caused by a coronavirus.
Common-sense prevention measures are the best way to stop coronaviruses from spreading among dogs and cats.
Isolate any new pets brought into the household until they are cleared by a veterinarian. Wash your hands after coming in contact with pet feces. Make sure you clean the litterbox daily, especially in a multi-cat household.
Can the new 2019-nCoV virus jump to pets? The vets at Texas A&M say it’s possible, but not likely, and pet owners should concentrate on preventing the more common pet viruses in their furry friends.