Wondering about the recent human Coronavirus outbreak and your pets?? Don’t be worried!! Household pets are NOT a threat to spread the virus or as a reservoir to carry it.
Coronaviruses are a LARGE family of viruses found in both humans and animals and can cause diseases from the common cold to more serious diseases like SARS & MERS. This new virus is a novel coronavirus and has been named Covid-19. In RARE case coronaviruses can mutate and spread from animals to humans. SARS (2002) spread from bats and MERS (2012) from camels to humans. This new virus originated in a live animal market in Wuhan, China. According to the Journal of Medical Virology “2019-nCoV appears to be a recombinant virus between the bat coronavirus and an origin-unknown coronavirus. The snake is the most probable wildlife animal reservoir”. This does not mean snakes in the US have it, it means the virus is a mutation of a combination virus shared between bats and snakes originating in China. Much more study is needed as this is a preliminary finding.
The issue now is that this virus is being spread from human to human exactly like the flu or any common cold. In fact you are much more likely to get the flu than Coronavirus. For some perspective, did you know that this flu season has already seen 15-21 million flu illnesses, 140,000-250,000 hospitalizations and 8,200-20,000 deaths in the US alone? According the the World Health Organization 290,000-650,000 people die worldwide each year from the flu. Practice good hygiene and wash your hands a lot. Avoid touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your eyes or mouth. Avoid close contact with people who are coughing or sneezing.
And finally, just to avoid any confusion… we do see a respiratory coronavirus infection in dogs in Steamboat. This is an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT coronavirus unique to dogs. It can cause Canine Cough (Canine infectious respiratory disease) by working along with a Mycoplasma infection. If your dog is diagnosed with Canine cough be assured you can’t get this coronavirus from your dog. Again, it is not the same as this brand new Coronavirus infection in people. There is a wealth of information on Canine Cough on our website as we see infections pretty much year round, year after year.
Take home message: Go hug your dog (and cat) and wash your hands after you’ve been out in the public so you won’t get a cold or the flu!