Do you wonder if your cat or dog can suffer from the coronavirus? We have submitted the most frequently asked questions about the coronavirus to veterinarian Atjo Westerhuis of EduVet Veterinary Training Centre.
What is the coronavirus?
The coronavirus has been around the world for a long time. In nature there is a great variety of coronaviruses, which can cause disease in many animal species. The coronavirus is a collective name for a whole group of viruses. In humans, most coronaviruses only cause colds. Coronaviruses that pass from animals to humans (what is called a zoonosis) can cause serious diseases, as with the new coronavirus.
The new coronavirus
The new coronavirus, COVID-19, most likely originated on a market with live animals in Wuhan (China). It spreads from human to human, through the air and through contact with infected surfaces. The virus can cause serious symptoms, such as fever and respiratory problems. Such as coughing or shortness of breath, the RIVM (Dutch Ministry of Health) reports.
Corona virus in cats and dogs
Update 19-03-2020: dog from Hong Kong does not have the new coronavirus
In Hong Kong, authorities quarantined a dog at the end of February after it tested 'weakly positive' for the virus. The dog showed no further symptoms of the new corona virus. At the time of writing, the AFCD, the Hong Kong Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Nature Conservation has no evidence that pets can become infected with the COVID-19 virus. During his quarantine the dog has been tested several times as 'weak positive'. However, the latest tests showed that the dog was not infected and the dog was allowed to return to its owner. Also, there are no indications that dogs and cats can infect people with the new corona virus.
‘’The authorities have concluded that the corona virus is not contagious to dogs and cats.’’
Can I still take care of my pet when I have the coronavirus?
Are you in home isolation because you have the coronavirus? The RIVM advises you to avoid direct contact with pets. You cannot pet or cuddle your dog or cat. It is best to have someone else take care of your pet during home insulation.
‘’Dogs and cats can get sick of their own coronaviruses!’’
Dogs and cats do have their own coronaviruses that can make them sick. The dog can be infected with the Canine Corona virus and a minority with the Canine Respiratory Corona virus (CRCoV). The Canine Corona virus can cause intestinal problems. The Canine Respiratory Corona virus is often a mild disease, but in severe cases can lead to pneumonia. What clinical signs does a dog infected with the Canine Corona virus develop?
- Reduced appetite
- Nose secretion (snotty nose)
It is possible to vaccinate your dog against the Canine Coronavirus, but not against the Canine Respiratory Coronavirus.
The cat can be infected with the Feline Corona virus (FCoV). In general, this virus causes mild symptoms, but if the infection persists, the virus can transform into a serious virus. In severe cases, FIP, Feline Infectious Peritonitis Virus, can occur. What clinical signs does a cat infected with FIP develop?
- Balance disorders
- A bloated stomach/belly
It is possible to vaccinate your cat against FIP, unfortunately the efficiency of this vaccine has not yet been proven.