DETECTOR RUMORS / The dogs and cats can be contaminated and transmit the virus ? Recent research seems to confirm that they can indeed get the COVID-19… but that doesn’t mean that they can pass it on. The Detector of rumors verified.
Two cats who, in April in the State of New York, had presented respiratory symptoms (cough, sniffles, runny nose), were indeed carriers of the virus SARS-CoV-2. The owner of the first cat had contracted the disease before the animal. In the second case, no member of the household has manifested symptoms, but no testing has been performed to check if one of them was carrying the virus.
It was the first two cases of pet animals contaminated in the United States, according to the u.s. agency for prevention and control of diseases (CDC). But they are not unique. The tests carried out in Hong Kong, two dogs were also found to be positive without that the animals do not present signs of the disease. And the cat of a person contaminated by SARS-CoV-2 has been infected in Belgium and has exhibited symptoms. At the end of may, a German shepherd living in New York became the first infected dog in the United States. One of its owners was a carrier of the virus.
These examples demonstrate that dogs and cats can be susceptible to coronavirus, but that doesn’t seem very common : tests carried out on 15 dogs and 8 cats in families with COVID-19 in Hong Kong were found to be negative. And during the validation of its test screening of the COVID-19, the american company IDEXX tested 3500 specimens of canine, feline and equine in the United States and South Korea : none of them was positive. It is not known if these samples came from households or environments infected by the virus.
Although the data are limited, the canadian veterinary medical Association (CVMA) concluded at the end of march that the risk of infection and disease is low among domestic animals.
Factor of transmission ?
And nothing indicates that they play a role in the transmission of the COVID-19 to humans or to other animals, according to the world health Organization (WHO) and the CDC. Up to now, all cases of dogs and cats infected show that if the transmission is made of the human to the animal, and not the reverse.
A review of the literature did not find studies evaluating the fur, hair or skin as a source of transmission in cats or dogs, whether the SARS-CoV-2 or the other coronavirus causing the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or respiratory syndrome Middle East (MERS). In may, the WHO has reported a case of “possible” contamination of two Dutch employees by two minks are farmed, but the proof still remains to be done.
Unable to say with certainty if the virus can survive for a few minutes or a few hours on the hair of animals, veterinarians recommend caution and keep away from people who do not live in the same household.
The CDC and the veterinarians are also asking pet owners to maintain as much as possible to the interior, to limit the contacts. For their part, researchers claim that the question of the transmission of the human to the animal to be further excavated.
In the meantime, veterinarians are held to good old recommendations : avoid getting licked in the face by the animal, and wash hands regularly when caring for her litter or her food.