Coronaviruses have hit the news in a big way recently, with the current COVID-19 pandemic causing lots of stress and illness in our global community. In light of a few news articles, and some misunderstandings about coronaviruses in general, our practice is being asked a lot of questions about how this might impact their pet’s health. We’ve put together a little Frequently Asked Questions article for you to hopefully answer all these and more.
Can my dog/cat get COVID-19?
There has been a single reported dog in Hong Kong that tested weakly positive to the virus. The dog was never sick, and subsequent tests after the dog was quarantined were negative. The dog’s owner was confirmed to be coronavirus positive.
What this means is that dogs do not seem to get sick (what we call “clinically affected”) by COVID-19.
There is also no evidence that dogs can transmit the disease to humans. While we don’t understand everything about this disease yet, it seems unlikely that it poses a threat to your furry family members.
There’s an excellent article on The Conversation that goes into the Hong Kong case in a little more depth; check it out HERE.
There have also been reports of cats in Hong Kong and Belgium that have tested positive to COVID-19. Both cats were owned by people who testedt positive to COVID-19. There is currently no evidence that cats can transmit the disease to humans. The Conversation also has an excellent piece on the Belgium case that you can read HERE.
Does the C5/F3 vaccination protect my pet against COVID-19?
No. There is currently no effective vaccine against COVID-19 in any species. Dedicated medical researchers are currently working very hard to make a vaccination for humans, but as our pet species are not known to get affected by COVID-19 there are no plans to develop a vaccine for them.
The C5 (dog) annual vaccine covers against:
- Canine distemper
- Canine infectious hepatitis
- Canine parvovirus
- Canine parainfluenza
- Canine cough (Bordetella bronchiseptica)
The F3 (cat) annual vaccine covers against:
- Feline panleukopaenia
- Feline calicivirus
- Feline rhinotracheitis
I heard there’s a vaccine for coronavirus in dogs!
There is a type of coronavirus that affects dogs, canine coronavirus (CCoV). CCoV is a contagious gastrointestinal disease in dogs that causes vomiting and diarrhoea.
CCoV is very specific to dogs and does not cause disease in humans, and it is very distinct from COVID-19. There is a vaccination but it is not as effective as other vaccines, and does not confer cross-protection against COVID-19.
There is also a newer respiratory coronavirus (CRCoV) in dogs, which again is dog-specific. It currently does not have an effective vaccination. Neither CCoV or CRCoV are considered to be threats to human health.
My cat was diagnosed with coronavirus! What does that mean for me?
Feline enteric coronavirus (FECV) is a cat-specific coronavirus that has been present in cat populations for decades. In most cats this causes a mild, self-limiting gastrointestinal disease (vomiting and diarrhoea).
In very rare cases, and by means we do not fully understand scientifically, the virus will mutate into Feline Infectious Peritonitis and cause severe illness.
FECV is not known to affect humans, and there is no vaccination available. Feline coronavirus is not considered a threat to human health.
My dog/cat is coughing/has a fever/or is unwell! I’m worried it’s COVID-19!
As we’ve mentioned, COVID-19 is not known to affect dogs, cats, or other companion species. If your pet is unwell, it is best to seek veterinary advice before worrying.