Dogs and Coronavirus – Everything you need to know

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As a result of the declaration of the state of alarm by the COVID-19 in Spain, there are many inquiries that come to me from 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 should take in relation to our dog during 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 by the official veterinary agencies.

Index of contents

  • 1 What is Canine Coronavirus?
  • 2 Is there a vaccine against canine Coronavirus?
  • 3 Can dogs suffer from or transmit COVID-19?
    • 3.1 So what happened to the Hong Kong dog that tested positive for COVID-19?
  • 4 What recommendations should we follow regarding Coronavirus and dogs?
  • 5 General measures with pets regardless of COVID-19
  • 6 General measures with pets for people who have symptoms (cough, fever, respiratory distress)
  • 7 General measures with pets for people who have symptoms and who have to keep the animal at home
  • 8 What to do if our dog needs to go to the vet during the COVID-19 quarantine?

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 the canine Coronavirus in case it suffers.

The main symptoms caused by Canine coronavirus in infected dogs they 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 fecal-oral route, that is, infected dogs eliminate infectious particles with their feces 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 the canine Coronavirus, and it will be part of the puppy’s vaccination protocol, whenever the veterinaryn deems 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.

dog-with-mask

Can dogs suffer from or transmit COVID-19?

Both veterinary professionals and World Health Organization, have indicated that there is no proven transmission of COVID-19 to pets not 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 At no time did he present symptoms of disease and it could not be verified that the viral particles that were detected in his nasal mucosa were actually infective., perhaps they only came from their owner and were not really produced by the dog’s organism.

What recommendations should we follow regarding Coronavirus and dogs?

Although there is no evidence that dogs can catch or transmit COVID-19, it should be assessed the risk that could exist in those dogs that live with infected people, since they could harbor for a time (for the moment unknown), particles of this virus in their fur if their owner does not take the necessary hygienic measures.

From the different official veterinary agencies, a series of recommendations have been designed and disclosed for pet owners.

The first thing they recommend is TRANQUILITY, since there is currently no scientific proof that pets or domestic animals can suffer or be a source of COVID-19 infection.

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 (cough, fever, respiratory distress)

It is recommended to avoid physical contact with pets or other animals and it is recommended that a healthy person take care of our dog. Do not leave the caretaker the usual utensils used by the pet. If it is not possible to obtain new utensils, the usual ones must be disinfected.

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

In the event that, even when 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 of the establishments have closed, veterinary centers continue to offer their se
rvices
, but limited to cases of real need.

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

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you should not go with the animal to the veterinary clinicYou should communicate the situation by phone and find a person who can take you to the veterinary center.

 

In this article we have tried to explain in a very simple way the main doubts and recommendations that have been given so far about COVID-19 in relation to pets; However, to resolve any other question, our recommendation is to always speak to veterinary professionals, who are the ones with the most accurate information.