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You, Your Pets and Coronavirus

Everyone’s talking these days about coronavirus and, naturally enough, pet owners wonders if they could make their dog or cat sick – or vice versa.

You shouldn’t worry, even though there were recent reports a dog in Hong Kong had tested “weak positive” for coronavirus. That likely came from the dog being in close contact with an infected human who was shedding the virus.

“There is currently no evidence that pet animals can be a source of infection of COVID-19 or that they can become sick,” a spokesman for the Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said.

“Members of the public are advised to differentiate that ‘being infected’ does not equal being infectious and capable of spreading the Covid-19 virus,” the Hong Kong Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said in a statement.

In any case, the coronaviruses dogs and cats do get aren’t the same ones associated with the outbreak, the SPCA said, so no specific steps are needed to protect them.

Still, you should take precautions — mostly to protect yourself since the pets could have the virus on them (not in them)

Pet owners are encouraged to maintain good hygiene. That includes washing hands before and after handling animals, their food and supplies — and don’t kiss them. If you’re sick, avoid contact with pets and, as always, seek a veterinarian’s advice if there are changes in a pet’s health condition.

Currently, there are no vaccines for COVID-19 for people or animals.

AG

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