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Can Animals Contract Covid-19?

Can Animals Contract Covid-19?

Life has changed drastically over the last year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Having to take the necessary precautions to minimize the spread to other people have been considered amongst the top priority. But with the first identified animal Covid-19 case was spotted in a tiger at the New York zoo, rising concerns came to the forefront of pet owners about whether or not pets can contract Covid-19. Alexander Djerassi finds that it is important to become informed about Covid-19 regarding pets so that proper care can be implemented for their safety as well as their owners. This article gives a bit of insight on the risks and precautions of covid-19 in animals and Djerassi would recommend adhering to these precautions as it can make significant difference to ensuring that owners are not passing along Covid-19 to their pets. While there is still research being conducted over transmission between pets and humans, it is still important to take the well being of pets into account.

While it was common knowledge in the beginning of the pandemic that the virus transmitted from an animal to humans, a lot of the information about whether or not animals can contract Covid-19 was initially unknown. The CDC, among other medical organizations, have been leading in the efforts to study and evaluate the Covid-19 contraction as well as the effects it has on pets in the home.

In these studies, samples of cats and dogs with a Covid-19 positive owner have been evaluated and tested. Within these samples, it was found that approximately 31% of dogs and 40% of cats tested positive. One of the studies, presented by the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, found that of all the animals in their sample, 4.2% showed evidence of infection and 17.4% tested positive for antibodies. Though the pets had tested positive, a small number of them displayed mild symptoms while the majority of them were asymptomatic. This overall led to the conclusion that asymptomatic contraction of Covid-19 is common in pets and does not pose as a major health risk towards them.
Although the health risks are minimal when contracting Covid-19, it is still recommended that a Covid-19 positive owner minimizes contact with other pets and animals as well as make arrangements for their pet to be taken care of by another member of the home. If arrangements cannot be made, wear some form of facial covering when taken care of. Refraining from things like snuggling and kissing your pet is also a good precaution to take to minimize spreading Covid-19 to them. Petting cats and dogs is permissible for owners, but it is recommended that owners maintain the practice of washing their hands afterwards. Refrain from having frequent interactions with people and dogs outside of the household like going to dog parks and other public places where a large volume of people are present. When it isn’t possible to avoid large numbers, maintain at least a six feet distance. If you’re walking your dog, Alexander Djerassi encourages that you ensure that other people don’t pet them.

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