01 Jun Can My Dog or Cat Get Coronavirus?
Are you wondering if your dog or cat could catch the virus? What if they can be a carrier for it, without being sick? Can our pets be contagious, and can one pet catch it from another?
Let’s take a look at what Dr. Jeff Weber has said on the subject.
IGTV AMA Sessions
As Dr.Jeff explains it in his Instagram video, your dog cannot get the SARS-COVID-2 virus, because they are missing a binding point on a protein in their biological makeup that is necessary for the virus to hang on to. This binding point is called ACE2, and you can learn more about it here. Other animals, such as horses and pigs, are also missing this binding point, making it impossible for them to be carriers or to become sick from coronavirus.
Now, you may have heard about the seven lions that tested positive for COVID-19 in the Bronx Zoo, just last week. That’s because the ACE2 binding point in the chemical makeup of both humans and felines (and surprisingly, ferrets!) are incredibly similar, thus allowing the virus to penetrate and infect both us and our cats. For some reason, the way the virus affects our cats is much less severe than what we’ve seen in comparison to how it affects people.
There have been only a few cases of house cats testing positive, and all of them mild. Thankfully, all of the cats that have come down with the virus, both domestic and exotic, have made full recoveries after treatment.
Outside Pets vs Indoor Pets
Practically speaking, what does that mean for cat owners who are worried about their pets catching or spreading the virus? Because we don’t yet have the proper information regarding the spread of coronavirus through pets, we urge you to stay cautious when dealing with an outside cat, and are recommending limited outside exposure for a cat that is both indoor and outdoor.
If you can keep them only indoors until this is all over, that would be ideal. For a cat that is only indoors, there shouldn’t be any concern with them bringing in the virus from an outside source.
Precautions to Take
The likelihood of your pet catching the virus is incredibly slim, but as a precaution – if your cat does venture outside during the lockdown, Dr.Jeff recommends wiping their fur down with safe-to-use wipes (do not use regular antibacterial wipes you would find around the house), and then wiping them down further with a warm, damp towel, or a quick rinse if they’ll allow it.
This last measure is just to remove the residue from the wipes which would otherwise remain on the fur.
To summarize the above, while dogs are unable to carry the virus or become infected, cats are susceptible to COVID-19, though it’s unlikely they will catch it. And rest assured, if they do, they get a much milder version of the virus than what we have seen with people.
All of the above information can be found in Dr.Jeff’s Instagram AMA Segments that airs weekly, and the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have regarding your pets and lockdown, the virus, their health and overall wellbeing can be found on Wednesdays on his stories.
We hope that you and all of your pets remain safe and happy.