The new type of coronavirus (COVID-19), which was originated in Wuhan, China’s Hubei province, continues to increase its worldwide impact.
Yvonne Chow Hau Yee (60) fell ill on February 12. Samples were also taken from the woman’s dog’s mouth and nose. WHO official Maria Van Kerkhove said that the dog did not show any signs of disease, but the test result was “weak positive”.
Five days later samples taken from the dog and an infected person who had close contact with the dog, the viral gene sequence was reported to be “very similar”. This suggests that a human-to-dog transmission has occurred (1).
Coronavirus (CoV) is an infectious viral disease that first appeared in Wuhan, China in 2019. While its first name was CoV-2, it was changed to SARS-CoV-2 on February 11 because it caused SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in many infected people.
This disease spread from person to person and spread to other provinces of China and then to the world. While the spread of the virus is increasing day by day, WHO has reported that it is a pandemic outbreak (2).
Coronaviruses belong to the Coronaviridae family. Coronaviridae family consists of:
Alpha and beta coronaviruses mostly affect mammals, while gamma and delta coronaviruses infect birds and fish.
The coronavirus observed in cats and dogs is in the alpha-coronavirus class. While this virus causes mild diarrhea in dogs, it can cause FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) in cats.
The virus that causes the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in humans is beta-coronavirus and can cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in humans. MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV are also under the beta-coronavirus classification, and both are of origin bats.
Coronavirus observed in cats and dogs is not associated with the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak and it is not transmitted to humans (not zoonosis).
Researches support that the source of the virus is an animal. Bats in particular are thought to be intermediate hosts, but this information has not been firmly confirmed.
The genetic sequence of the CoV-2 virus and the CoV, which is frequently observed in bats (Rhinolophus bat), were found closely related. So bats are likely to infect humans as an intermediate host. But to date, there is no research explaining the source of the disease or the way in which it is transmitted from animals to humans.
However, there is no evidence that pet animals are infected with coronavirus or that they spread this virus.
Since it’s a very new disease, researchers are still learning how COVID-19 has spread. The most common way of transmission of the disease is from person to person.
Infection occurs by inhaling the droplets scattered in the environment, especially with the cough of sick individuals.
The virus can enter the body by bringing hands to the face, eyes, nose or mouth after touching the surfaces contaminated by this virus.
Just like any other surface, the virus can contaminate your pet’s fur.
In a study it was confirmed that the COVID-19 virus could be transmitted through the fecal route (3).
In confirmed cases of coronavirus, the spectrum of findings was observed in a range from mild symptoms to moderate disease or even death.
Symptoms can begin within 2-14 days after exposure to the virus (incubation period).
The most common symptoms are:
In some infected people, no symptoms may be observed, they may feel good and healthy. The disease is mild, especially in children and young people.
Research is still ongoing on how COVID-19 affects people.
It has been observed that the findings observed in individuals over 60 years old and people with serious chronic diseases (such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, lung disease) are more in danger than other individuals (2).
As with any viral disease, there is no cure for coronavirus. Antibiotics do not cure viral diseases.
Treatment is supportive according to the clinical findings of the patient.
COVID-19 does not currently have a vaccine.
Currently, many veterinary clinics in Germany deal only with emergency cases.
If your pet is an emergency patient, call the Veterinary Clinic before you go. If any person in your home has been exposed to COVID-19, be sure to call your veterinarian and explain your situation before going to the veterinarian. Thus, they can arrange for an isolated room and precautions to treat your pet.
As you know, the ban on going out in Spain, Italy, France and Germany (first in Bavaria) is now being implemented. Those who do not obey the ban are punished. However, it is not forbidden for the citizens to go outside and, of course, to walk their dogs unless they form a group .
When you take out your dog for a walk, you should make it short and just around your building (4).
However, quarantined individuals are prohibited from walking their dog. Therefore, infected individuals can get help from their close friends, neighbours, or family members to walk their dog (5).
If you are a COVID-19 patient, you should avoid contact with your dog and other animals, just like other people.
If possible, another individual who is not can take care of your pet. If you need to take care of your pet alone, you should wash your hands before and after interaction. It is also recommended that you wear a face mask and gloves (6).
If you are sick:
Animal owners who take the necessary hygienic precautions should not be overly concerned and under no circumstances should they leave their pets.
Stay safe and positive 🙂