The British Veterinary Association has issued a statement following Utrecht University’s research into coronavirus infection in pet dogs and cats.
The study showed a high prevalence of coronavirus infection or antibodies among pet dogs and cats from COVID-19 positive households.
The study found that most infected pets tend to be asymptomatic or display mild Covid symptoms. The researchers emphasised that the most likely route of virus transmission is from humans to animals.
Responding to the study, Daniella Dos Santos, senior vice president of the BVA, said: “While pet cats and dogs may be susceptible to the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, the most likely route of transmission is from an infected human to their pet animal, as the authors of this new study reiterate. There is no evidence that pets are passing CVOID-19 to their owners.
“Our advice to pet owners who have COVID-19 or who are self-isolating with symptoms remains to restrict contact with their pets as a precautionary measure and to practise good hygiene, including regular handwashing. If your pet requires care, wash your hands before and after any interaction with them and wear a face mask if possible.”
Ms Dos Santos added: “We also recommend that owners who are confirmed or suspected to have Covid-19 should keep their cat indoors if possible, but only if the cat is happy to be kept indoors. Some cats cannot stay indoors due to stress-related medical reasons.
“Most infected pets have no or mild symptoms, but owners should contact their local veterinary practice for advice in case they suspect their pet to be ill.”