Coronaviruses have been in animals for many years, but only a few are known to infect humans. The most current one is very easy to spread from human to human, as we’ve seen. Over 1.3 million are infected.
However, it can also hit animal cells too. The disease is theorized to have originated within horseshoe bats in china, before it jumped to another animal, and from there found the way into humans. The virus is able to put itself into cells by binding to the cell surface protein that’s known as the ACE2, which is present within many species.
This virus has been found to infect a tiger, and did so in the Bronx zoo, but the cases are rare. The transmission is low, and there’s no reason to think you’ll get the disease from the felines in the neighborhood.
However, pet owners should still take caution, and here, we’ll highlight what you need to know about this as a pet owner.
Can it infect animals?
The virus itself isn’t hard to please when it comes to potential hosts, since they’ve been found in many species. There is a doc that tested “weakly positive” for this and later died. Another cat tested positive for this. Of course, the pets were living with human owners which were infected, and the timing of this does demonstrate it. Most of the time though, the pet has to live with a human to have this transmit.
Cats can be infected with this, and they might spread it via the respiratory droplets. The infected animals were put next to those without the disease, and it does spread. But the cats don’t show the outward signs.
However, dogs are much more resistant. These were based off laboratory experiments, but might demonstrate that while it does happen, it’s incredibly unlikely.
Can other Animals Be infected?
The answer is yes, if they have a protein called ACE2 in them. That’s because the virus has spiky projections that latch onto these proteins. The spikes then lock it into place, and that’s how it replicates. Currently, it replicates poorly within horses, sheep, pangolins, goats, pigeons, and lynx, so those animals are deemed safe.
But, of course, there is the instance of the animal in the US getting it from a zookeeper, which is possible.
Can I get it From My Pet
There’s still not a bunch of information on it. But there is lack of evidence that demonstrates it. There is no evidence that companion animals play a part in this. But you definitely should be careful.
The risk of getting this from a pet’s fur is very low. The thing is though, it’s not zero, since this can survive on surfaces and will transmit via droplets. So, if you pet a dog that was recently petted by someone with COVID-19, there is a risk there, but it’s low. However, after you interact with a dog or cat, you should wash your hands. People are more risk to their pets than the pets are to you.
So how do you protect the furry companions you have? The simple answer is prevention. You should prevent infection as best as you can, since they are key to treating this.
That’s all there is on whether or not COVID19 can be spread to pets, and right now, while there’s still tests underway, will definitely be further researched in the future.