15 Jul 2021
BVA advises sensible precautions following new study on Covid-19 virus in pets
BVA issues statement following Utrecht University research into coronavirus infection in pet dogs and cats.
A new study carried out by researchers at Utrecht University, Netherlands and widely reported in the news today shows a high prevalence of coronavirus infection or antibodies among pet dogs and cats from Covid-19 positive households.
The study finds that most infected pets tend to be asymptomatic or display mild Covid symptoms. The researchers emphasise that the most likely route of virus transmission is from humans to animals.
Responding to the study, Daniella Dos Santos, Senior Vice President, British Veterinary Association, said:
“While pet cats and dogs may be susceptible to the virus that causes Covid-19 in humans, the most likely route of transmission is from an infected human to their pet animal, as the authors of this new study reiterate. There is no evidence that pets are passing Covid-19 to their owners.
“Our advice to pet owners who have Covid-19 or who are self-isolating with symptoms remains to restrict contact with their pets as a precautionary measure and to practise good hygiene, including regular handwashing. If your pet requires care, wash your hands before and after any interaction with them and wear a face mask if possible.
“We also recommend that owners who are confirmed or suspected to have Covid-19 should keep their cat indoors if possible, but only if the cat is happy to be kept indoors. Some cats cannot stay indoors due to stress-related medical reasons.
“Most infected pets have no or mild symptoms, but owners should contact their local veterinary practice for advice in case they suspect their pet to be ill.”
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