According to the OIE – World Organisation for Animal Health, the current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human to human transmission.
As of date, there is not enough scientific evidence to identify that companion animals can be infected with or be a source of infection for COVID-19.
Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) issued a statement of a dog testing ‘weak’ positive for COVID-19. Based on the current research, this is likely a case of human-to-animal (reverse zoonotic) transmission. The dog in question has not exhibited any symptoms related to the disease.
There is currently NO evidence at this time that mammalian pet animals (such as dogs and cats) could be a source of infection to other animals or humans.
The best approach in this circumstance is to reiterate the importance of basic personal hygiene and self-care, and many public health authorities have adopted this tactic. Simple measures, such as washing hands thoroughly and covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing, are fundamental to reducing the spread of any respiratory illness, including COVID-19. When human and animal health are so intricately linked, the same basic health precautions should also be applied to our pets.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends that if owners are sick with COVID-19, they should restrict and limit contact with pets and other animals, just like how they would with other people. When possible, have another member of the household care for your animals while you are sick. If one must care for his/her pet or be around animals while one is sick, washing of hands before and after interaction with pets and wear a facemask are recommended.
Until we have a better understanding of the current strain, good hygiene, for both people and pets – are vital to minimise the spread.
There is currently no evidence that vaccinating dogs with commercially available vaccines (intended for protection against enteric coronavirus infection) will provide cross-protection against the infection by COVID-19. These currently commercially available vaccines are NOT licensed for protection against COVID-19.
But until we properly understand this new virus, the best thing we can do is take good care of ourselves – and our pets.
Full guidance on coronavirus from World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is available on the website.
The most up-to-date information and advice on human infection can be found on the following websites:
The most up-to-date information related to animal health can be found on the following website:
*Due to rapidly evolving situation, new information will be updated as it becomes available.