How easy is your pet to catch a COVID?It happens more often than you think, research says

Since the beginning of the pandemic, cats and dogs have been known to be able to catch COVID-19 from infected people. Gorilla, mink, 1 ferret.. But the question is how vulnerable pets are to the disease, and what factors, if any, increase the risk of infection.

Two studies, now presented at next week’s online medical conference, show that dogs and cats are more likely to get sick from their owners than expected, and cats face greater risk than dogs. I will.

Despite the protracted unknowns, the study found no evidence of pet-to-human coronavirus transmission, alleviating discomfort about the potential for increased spillover in animals. (Most scientists believe that the virus has spread from bats to humans.)

“If you have COVID-19, Avoid contact with cats and dogsDr. Els Browns, co-author and director of the study at the Center for Veterinary Microbiology at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, said in a statement. “But the main concern was not animal health, with no or mild symptoms of COVID-19, but the potential for pets to act as a reservoir of virus and reintroduce it into the human population. Risk. “

“Fortunately, no pet-to-human transmission has been reported so far,” Broens added. “Therefore, it seems unlikely that pets are involved in a pandemic, even though the prevalence of pets in COVID-19-positive households is fairly high in this study.”

Of the 310 pets with nearly equal proportions of cats and dogs from 196 coronavirus-positive homes, 13 pets (6 cats and 7 dogs) were COVID-19, according to a survey by the Dutch team. It was positive. Meanwhile, 54 pets (31 cats and 23 dogs) had coronavirus antibodies — a sign of past infections.

The researchers said that all infected animals were ultimately negative.

The team also revisited the homes of pets that tested positive to see if the infected animals were transmitting the virus to other pets in the home. None were tested positive, suggesting that pet-to-pet transmission is unlikely.

Cats are more likely to be infected with COVID than dogs

Another study, conducted by researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada, examined how the interaction between infected owners and pets affected the likelihood of dog and cat disease.

Of the 48 cats and 54 dogs, 67% and 43% were antibody positive, respectively.

The team compared pets to 75 dogs and cats living in animal shelters and 75 stray cats found in veterinary clinics. 9% and 3% had antibodies, respectively. This suggests that pets are more likely to get sick from humans rather than other animals.

“Although there is limited evidence that pets can infect other pets with the virus, Cannot be excluded“The study’s co-author, Dorothy Bienzul, a professor of veterinary pathology at the University of Guelph, said in a statement. “Similarly, pets have not been shown to return the virus to people, but the possibility cannot be completely ruled out.”

Pet cats were more likely to have symptoms such as runny nose and dyspnea (27%) compared to pet dogs (20%), who primarily showed low energy and loss of appetite. Almost all cases were mild, except for three severe infections in cats.

For dogs, the time spent with the infected owner and the type of contact did not affect the probability of infection, but for cats, especially if they shared a bed with the sick owner.

Researchers speculate that cats have a unique protein that makes it easier for the coronavirus to enter cells and become infected. Cats tend to sleep closer to human faces than dogs.

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