COVID-19 in Dogs: Myths vs Facts
Is the coronavirus something you need to worry about when it comes to your four-legged best friend? Well, in short, yes and no.
In the last few months you’ve more than likely heard about COVID-19 or coronavirus, known someone that tested positive for coronavirus, or have sheltered in place due to the virus. Eeep!
Nevertheless, the lack of understanding and misinformation has us more than a little paranoid, on edge, and fearful. Not to mention, the 60+ days of social distancing being enough to make us all go a little bit stir crazy, within our four walls.
Thus, in today’s article, we’re going to take coronavirus head on and discuss important information in regards to COVID-19 in doggos.
Here goes nothin’!
What is Coronavirus?
Well, coronaviruses are a whole family of viruses that include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The new strain of coronavirus may cause respiratory illness, originating in China.
Coronavirus is a highly infectious and contagious disease. It can spread from person to person at an extremely rapid rate. Just in the past three months, it has spread rampant throughout China and hundreds of other countries around the globe, including the USA.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic - they can spread between animals and humans. More often than not, zoonotic diseases start in the animal kingdom and spread to humans. Take note here, humans can still spread disease to animals too. For example, studies demonstrated that SARS spread from felines to humans. Likewise, MERS originated in camels. Scarily enough, there are strands of coronaviruses in animals that have not yet infected humans.
Fortunately, The World Health Organization (WHO) and The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are working extremely hard to monitor and report the spread of the coronavirus disease, taking immediate action with aims to slow the spread of the virus. For example, social distancing is one of the primary ways you can slow the spread of this disease.
If you’re new, I’m sure you’re wondering ‘what is social distancing?’. Well, it pretty much means staying home. It has been recommended by health experts, doctors, researchers, and institutions. Oh, and your pup has recommended it too! Speaking of your furry friend, let’s talk about coronavirus in doggos.
What is Dog Coronavirus?
With the quick spread of COVID-19 and the global attempt for disease control, there has been a lot of misinformation, information, and more information out there. Will it affect your pet? Is my dog safe? Luckily, it seems that you cannot give your dog the virus if you contract it. It seems that this specific strain of coronavirus cannot be given to pets, more specifically felines or canines. But, if you saw an article that said differently last month, you may be shaking your head in disbelief.
Dog Tests Positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong
Not too long ago, a dog was tested for coronavirus, testing positive - pet owners everywhere, how should I say, FREAKED. After the dog’s owner tested positive for the coronavirus, their dog got tested as well. After Hong Kong authorities found viral RNA on the dog’s mouth and nose, the tests came back “weakly positive”.
The dog was put in quarantine and had shown signs of recovery. Happy to report that the dog now tests negative for the COVID-19 infection. Hong Kong authorities are still keeping the pet under quarantine, as a safety precaution.
Medical disease control and researchers believe that this was an isolated case, more on the rare side. There isn’t really evidence to support pet owners spreading the disease to their pets, as of late. It appears that the virus is only transmissible human to human.
The Hong Kong doggo had very very small particles of the virus present and did not display any clinical signs of having the disease. It’s possible that the found particles were from the owner, not technically infecting the pet.
Well of course, dogs are mammals just like us. We share a lot of the same cell receptors even. So, I guess you could say it is theoretically possible that the virus could attach to your pet’s cells, but it isn’t likely.
Your Dog and Quarantining
So what does it mean if you test positive for COVID-19? Can you keep your pets with you to comfort you?
Health experts have recommended that those with a coronavirus infection limit contact with their pet(s) as well as other family members or household members.
If you do have the virus, health experts have recommended that you limit contact with your dog or cat, wash your hands more frequently, and don’t allow your pup to lick you (or your face). It’s probably best if you leave your dog with a non-household member of your family or friend. It may even be more fun for your puppers, kinda like a vacation!
What is Canine Coronavirus?
It is a thing. It does exist. Scientifically, it goes by CCoV. This is very different from the COVID-19 virus we are fighting as a human race.
Canine coronavirus is highly highly infectious and is an intestinal infection that affects dogs. It is usually short in duration, but can cause your pup a large deal of pain.
Canine coronavirus doesn’t affect humans and is NOT a respiratory illness. It causes intestinal issues in dogs. Most instances of the canine virus are caused by a puppy or dog coming into contact with infected stool. Dogs may also become infected with the CCoV by coming into contact with an infected dog or contaminated food or water bowls.
Many may confuse Canine Parvovirus with Canine Coronavirus. Both viruses may cause diarrhea in dogs. However, Canine Parvovirus is extremely dangerous and can be deadly to dogs, especially if your pup isn’t vaccinated yet. Parvovirus can also be contracted if your dog comes into contact with infected stool or other infected dogs.
If your four-legged friend has had the runs for 24 hours without any signs of clearing up along with signs of lethargy and a loss of appetite, you should make a call to the vet.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Coronavirus
Right now, the best thing you can do is take care of yourself! If you’re able to, it’s best to stay home to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Coronavirus symptoms typically show within 14 days of their exposure. Here are some of the clinical signs and symptoms of the virus.
Shortness of Breath
Like SARS, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness (in humans). When your cough worsens, you may have trouble breathing, with potential for developing pneumonia.
Diarrhea and Vomiting
In some instances, vomiting and diarrhea can result from this infection.
This can lead to difficulty breathing. If this continues and gets progressively worse, you should contact your healthcare physician right away.
In a general sense, a fever is usually followed by an infection. If your fever worsens, remaining high for numerous days, you should seek medical attention.
Similar to the regular flu, COVID-19 can cause your body to ache all over. This is a common symptom that tags along with a fever.
Signs and symptoms of coronavirus can look a lot like other underlying conditions’ signs and symptoms. We highly recommend doing your due diligence in researching possible reasons for your dog’s symptoms as well as taking your dog into the vet for a professional opinion.
Coronavirus in Dogs: Final Thoughts
As each day continues during this unprecedented time, we learn more about the coronavirus that is affecting millions. As of current, there is no evidence that coronavirus can cross over, infecting your dog at this time. However, it’s best to use complete caution at this time, as new evidence may emerge quickly.
Include your pup in your preparation plan. In the instance that you do test positive for the virus and you have to self-quarantine for at least 14 days, make sure to have a bag packed and ready for fido to visit a relative or friend. Let a family member or friend know of any daily needs, medications, and habits your pet may have and need so they can help out properly.
In times such as these, you really want to prepare as much as you can, the best you can! Stay safe, stay socially distant, and enjoy the cuddles with your pup for as long as you can!