Updated 3/3/20: Recent Coronavirus Outbreak and Pets, Should I Be Worried?

Coronavirus update!!! Wondering about the recent human Coronavirus outbreak and your pets?? This is the most current information from the World Health Organization.”Although the virus seems to have emerged from an animal-scientists have said a bat- there is currently no evidence that suggests pets like dogs or cats can be infected with the Coronavirus, the department said. However, the situation is still evolving scientists say.”

A dog in Hong Kong recently tested weakly positive for COVID-19 but showed no symptoms( no fever, cough,lethargy or pneumonia). This dog was owned by a woman who had the Coronavirus. In Hong Kong they are planning to quarantine pets of owners that have Coronavirus until the pets test negative. This is really no different than quarantining people who have come into contact with a Coronavirus positive person.

Here in the US the CDC recommends that IF A PET OWNER IS INFECTED WITH COVID-19 they should minimize contact with their pets and other animals that includes “petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food”. Again, same advice would go for contact with people who are much more likely to spread 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 cases 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.

The issue now is that this virus is being spread from human to human exactly like the flu or any common cold. Unfortunately many infected people have mild symptoms and unknowingly can spread Coronavirus to other people. You are still 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 – 20 seconds of washing and dry them well. 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 (COVID-19) 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 pets (unless YOU have a Coronavirus infection!) and wash your hands after you’ve been out in the public so you won’t get any viral infections!


FAQ – Frequency Asked Questions about Coronavirus Disease – UPDATED March 11, 2020

Covid-19, from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), updated: 3/4/2020

COVID-19 and domestic animals