Should You Get Your Pet Tested for Coronavirus?

written by: Carly Lou
The SARS-CoV-2 virus or popularly known as the coronavirus doesn’t seem to stop impacting our life any time soon. Even with the first-generation vaccine out there, some parts of the world, for example, the UK, are still under a strict lockdown to limit the spread. During these weirdly tough times, staying safe from the virus  COVID-19 is paramount. This raises some questions; can your pet get the disease? If yes, should you get your pets tested for coronavirus?

COVID-19 in pets has been a subject of research and concern since the first case of the disease caused by the SARS-Cov-2 virus was reported in a non-human animal. Well, the short answer to the questions is yes, animals can contract the virus responsible for COVID-19 and no, you don’t have to get your pet tested for Coronavirus. Read on to know why.

Coronavirus Test in Dogs and Cats

Let’s understand what experts have to say about the Coronavirus tests for animals. The lab tests that are done on pets are the ones used for humans. And the problem is there’s a short supply of it. Well, that shouldn’t be a problem if testing pets for coronavirus can aid in stopping the spread and save more lives.

Veterinarians prefer species-specific COVID tests, in fact, some labs have developed species-specific testing methods but they have not been administered broadly yet. So what’s the real deal? Why aren’t there any guidelines on getting your pet tested and quarantine them upon tested positive?

There’s no significant evidence that suggests pets and dogs spread the disease in humans. Also, there are no deaths recorded in pets, especially dogs and cats due to COVID-19.

With that being said, It’s quite clear that testing pets for coronavirus at this point is not going to help in tackling the pandemic but can induce fear among pet owners. Many pet parents have abandoned their pets as well in fear of contracting the virus.

There’s no need to abandon or surrender your pets if your pet has contracted the virus. Tests are available for most types of pets but they are recommended only when your pet is showing any symptoms of COVID-19 and has been exposed to a person with the disease.

What Should You Do When You Feel Your Pet Has COVID-19?

Don’t panic if your dog or cat has symptoms. There are very thin chances of the virus jumping to you from your furry friend. However, you should be more cautious (will discuss it later in this section).

The COVID-19 symptoms are more or less the same for the dogs and cats: vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, lethargy, eye discharge, sneezing, and runny nose.

Clara Lou, the chairperson of CatLovesBest and DogLovesBest advises, “If you observe any of these symptoms in your pet, talk to your vet first. You shouldn’t go to their office without talking to them first over a call as going directly there can expose many people and other animals to the virus.“

Your veterinarian will be able to tell you whether the COVID-19 test for your pet is required or not. As I’ve already mentioned vets usually recommend a test when the pet has symptoms and was exposed to a human with COVID-19.

Here are some pointers for you to consider:

  • Keep your dog indoors in a separate room or a small room/garage/bathroom and do not let him lick you or touch you. This is similar to a human quarantine facility. If you have a cat, keep him indoors strictly.
  • Do not take your dog out for walks. However, if it’s inevitable, keep walks limited to potty and pee only. No park visits at all.
  • If you have a multi-pet household, your other pets should not be in touch with the sick pet.
  • If at all your pet has to go through a COVID-19 test, your pet has to stay quarantined till their SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test results negative. Or at least 14 days have past since your pet’s last COVID test was performed.
  • Ensure that you are using gloves when picking up their feces, and clean their bedding. Also, wash your hands before and after you go near your pet to provide them food and medication.
  • If you are infected with the virus, you should stay away from your pets also. Have someone who can take care of them. If it’s not possible, don’t worry, just ensure that you’re wearing a mask and gloves, and stay away from them as much as possible.
  • Keep in mind that your dog never has to wear a mask. 


Conclusion

There are cases of Coronavirus reported for dogs and cats. Most of them have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Also, there are no deaths reported in cats or dogs as well. It’s evident that animals in the zoo or pets that tested positive for the coronavirus were in contact with the caretakers with COVID-19.

In a nutshell, there is evidence of a human to animal transmission of the virus but no evidence for an animal to human transmission. Keep all the precautions and pointers in mind when dealing with your pet’s illness or yours. 

Conclusively, your pets are not recommended to go through a COVID-19 test. However, you should seek your veterinarian’s help as soon as possible and follow all the instructions strictly. 

About the Author:
Clara is a co-founder and the marketing head at Petlovesbest.com. She happens to be an active animal activist in her town who has done a few notable works for the welfare of animals, especially pets. She loves to enjoy writing about pets and animals

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