Last week, the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department released a statement about a Pomeranian that tested “weak positive” for the coronavirus. The pet dog belonged to a woman with COVID-19, according to news reports.
The dog was taken under quarantine and was inspected by experts from the University of Hong Kong, City University and the World Organization for Animal Health. South China Morning Post (SCMP) said the experts “unanimously agreed that these results suggest that the dog has a low level of infection and it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission.”
David Hui Shu-cheong of Chinese University told SCMP that scientists will have to evaluate the antibodies present inside the animal’s blood. “If the blood test results is negative, it means the dog is not infected,” he added.
Back in 2003 during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, dogs and cats also contracted low-level infections, said Vanessa Barrs from City University.
“Previous experience with SARS suggests that cats and dogs will not become sick or transmit the virus to humans. At that time, a small number of pets tested positive but none became sick,” she told SCMP. “Importantly, there was no evidence of viral transmission from pet dogs or cats to humans.”
Still, many experts suggest pet owners not to panic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends for people with the virus to have someone else walk their animal companions. They would also like to remind the people to always wash their hands after snuggling with animals.
“We wish to remind the public that there is no evidence that companion animals can transmit the disease to humans,” Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) said in a statement.
“Currently, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare,” the World Health Organization added.
You might want to read:
– Don’t panic! Experts warn there is no evidence pets can spread coronavirus
– Hong Kong finds coronavirus in pet dog samples, unclear if infected
– Can your pets get coronavirus?