Dogs and Coronavirus – Everything you need to know

As a result of the declaration of the state of alarm by the COVID-19 in most of the countries, there are many doubts of pet owners concerned about the health of their dog and their family.

There has been considerable uncertainty about whether dogs are a source of COVID-19 infection and about the preventive measures we must be in contact with our dog or not during the quarantine.

Furthermore, doubts arise as to whether the canine Coronavirus is the same virus as COVID-19 and whether it can be transmitted to people or not. We will try to clarify all these issues and remember a series of recommendations that have been disseminated from the official veterinary agencies.

What is Canine Coronavirus?

Canine Coronavirus is a different virus than COVID-19, and it can only affect dogs, especially puppies, so there is no possibility that our dog transmits canine Coronavirus to us in case it suffers.

The main symptoms that canine Coronavirus causes in infected dogs are digestive, although there may sometimes be a respiratory component:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood and mucus in the stool

This virus is transmitted via the faecal-oral route, that is, infected dogs eliminate infectious particles with their faeces and other dogs can become infected if they come in contact with these excrements.

Being a virus, the treatment is only supportive (symptomatic) until the dog’s own immune system eliminates the virus.

Is there a vaccine against canine Coronavirus?

There is currently a vaccine against canine Coronavirus, and it will be part of the puppy’s vaccination protocol, whenever the veterinarian considers it appropriate.

The fact of vaccinating the animal does not mean that our dog is 100% protected against this disease, that is, it could be infected, but in all likelihood, the symptoms it would develop would be milder and the healing process shorter.

Can dogs suffer from or transmit COVID-19?

Both veterinary professionals and the World Health Organization have indicated that there has been no proven transmission of COVID-19 to pets or from pets.

That is, at the moment, there is no scientific evidence that dogs can suffer or transmit this virus and especially it must be remembered that, although there is a canine Coronavirus, it is not COVID-19.

So what happened to the Hong Kong dog that tested positive for COVID-19?

In late February, a 17-year-old Pomeranian who had been in close contact with its owner infected with this virus was tested for COVID-19 in Hong Kong.

Samples were taken using nasal swabs and tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. This dog was placed in quarantine, and in the following tests, the results were negative for this virus.

The dog didn’t present symptoms of the disease, and it could not be verified that the viral particles that were detected in its nasal mucosa were actually infective, perhaps they only came from their owner and were not really produced by the dog’s body.

General measures with pets regardless of COVID-19

We should always wash our hands after touching an animal and not touch our eyes, nose or mouth.

General measures with pets for people who have symptoms and who have to keep the animal at home

Even if we are sick, we must take care of our pet. We must wear a mask in the presence of the animal and wash our hands frequently. Contact should be avoided (do not touch unless it is strictly necessary) and hands must be washed well before and after each contact with our pet or its utensils (feeders, leashes, toys)

What to do if our dog needs to go to the vet during the COVID-19 quarantine?

Despite the fact that with the state of alarm, most businesses have closed, veterinary centres continue to offer their services but are limited.

If your dog becomes ill or has an accident during quarantine, before going to the clinic you should contact your usual vet by phone, so that they can assess the case and tell you how to act.

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