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Pets can catch Covid from humans, new research suggests

A study suggests dogs, cats and even ferrets can catch coronavirus from humans

James Manning
Written by
James Manning

Since the start of the 2020 pandemic, many of the world’s loving pet parents have been worried not only about their own health but that of their furry children. We’ve seen scattered reports of infected pets from across the world, and even a tiger at New York’s Bronx Zoo was diagnosed with Covid-19. Now a new study suggests that infected humans do, in many cases, pass on the illness to their pets.

The upcoming ESCMID Conference on Coronavirus Disease will hear from a group of Canadian scientists who tested a total of 17 cats, 18 dogs and one ferret for Covid-19. All of the pets’ owners had experienced a positive diagnosis or coronavirus symptoms in the previous two weeks. A ‘substantial proportion’ of the pets had antibodies for the virus, reports, indicating that they had been infected.

Some animals reportedly also had Covid-like symptoms at the time their owners were infected, although there have been no reports of animals suffering extreme cases of Covid. The study’s authors did not establish whether the virus can be passed from pets back to humans, but said that ‘such reverse transmission may occur’.

Despite the small sample size, the researchers were confident in recommending that pet owners isolate from their furry friends if they come down with Covid – in much the same way that sufferers should avoid contact with other humans.

So just to be on the safe side, it’s probably best to keep any animal friends away from your sickbed – even if they’re scratching at the door and whining to be let in. Remember, it’s for their own good!

Read more:

An expert tells us how at-risk our pets are of getting sick

Should I keep my cat indoors during the coronavirus crisis?

Now read these amazing stories about animals taking back human spaces during lockdown.

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