Widespread panic happened when Hong Kong authorities confirmed that a dog tested positive for COVID-19 last month. But what does this actually mean for us pet-owning humans?
When the Pomerarian was first found to test positive, it was assumed that the virus was present on the surface of the dog, probably via contamination with an infected human. But, upon deeper investigation, the dog was found to actually be infected with the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been quick to quell panic and allay fears. Previously, during the SARS outbreak, a few cats were found positive for the virus. This, although there was zero evidence for it, caused panic that the virus would be transferred back to humans. Cats were abandoned and even killed and cat owners were badly stigmatised.
The Hong Kong dog was only very weakly positive, and was probably infected via contact with an infected human. No signs of sickness were present. There is, as yet, no evidence that the virus would spread in the opposite direction back to humans.
But, that said, the WHO recommends these precautions:
- washing your hands after touching your pet
- no kissing
- wiping down paws after a walk
- quarantining pets if their owners are infected
Anyway, if we are going to be quarantined or self isolating, who better to share our space than our best friends, our pets.
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