Are our dogs immune to coronavirus?
As confirmed cases of coronavirus continue to grow across the world, it’s natural to worry, at least a little, about whether you and your family will stay healthy. And, of course, that includes thinking about the possibility of coronavirus in dogs.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can sicken people or animals. Coronaviruses are responsible for the common cold, as well as the SARS outbreak in 2003. This newest strain of coronavirus is known as COVID-19.
But do you really need to be as concerned about your retriever as you are about your kids? Here are answers to the questions about canine coronavirus that dog parents have been asking.
Should I worry about the spread of the new coronavirus in dogs?
No, at least not at this time. Both WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tell us there is no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19 to other pets or people.
Available data on recent dog illnesses in the United States, for example, seems to confirm that. Pet medical insurance company Trupanion monitors such data on a “very granular” level daily, and by breed and location, explains Mary Rothlisberger, vice president of analytics. “We are on top of any health-related trends that might be out of the norm. We have not seen any increases or changes in the frequency of illnesses that would appear unusual,” she says.
But what about that dog in Hong Kong?
Yes, one older male dog in Hong Kong tested as “weakly positive” for the virus in late February, although WHO officials recently reported that the dog never showed symptoms and is doing fine. His owner had contracted COVID-19. To date, he is the only dog in the world to have tested positive for canine coronavirus.
“The dog had low levels of the virus in its nose and mouth…and could have picked it up from the patient with the virus—or from surfaces he had touched,” says Rachel Barrack, DVM, CVA, CVCH and founder of concierge practice, Animal Acupuncture in New York City, further explains. “Since dogs’ noses and mouths come in contact with just about everything, it is hard to say.” WHO will continue to study the situation, but for now maintains there is no evidence that household pets can transmit the new coronavirus.