(03/23/20) BATON ROUGE, La. — Some people are concerned that pets can catch or spread the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. To this point, research has shown no evidence that pets can spread the disease to other animals or to humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection and other human and animal health organizations.
Some of the first people to contract the virus in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, reportedly had a link to the live animal market, suggesting an animal-to-person spread. But current testing has shown no such connection — neither from animals to people, nor from people to animals, said Dr. Diana Coulon, a veterinarian and an LSU AgCenter instructor.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, thousands of canine and feline specimens have been tested and shown no positive results.
“Pets tested in the U.S. have all tested negative so far,” Coulon said. “The major caution at this time is that if someone is infected with the virus and would sneeze or cough on their pet, then the pet’s body or fur could become a fomite — a surface like doorknobs or faucets that could be contaminated.”
Here are some tips for proper pet care:
The association is encouraging veterinarians to do more telemedicine services and limit or discontinue non-emergency surgeries and procedures at this time, Coulon said.
Studies have shown that pets can contribute to a person’s overall health by lowering stress and bringing happiness to their owners, according to the CDC. Therapy dogs, for example, are used to help residents of assisted living homes and to relieve the stress of people involved in traumatic events.
It’s helpful for owners to understand that pets can help comfort them during the disruptive threat of the coronavirus, Coulon said.
Winston, a miniature schnauzer, is pictured on March 19, 2020. Thousands of canine and feline specimens have been tested and obtained no positive COVID-19 results, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Photo by Randy LaBauve/LSU AgCenter
Murphy, an Ocicat breed cat, is pictured on March 19, 2020. Thousands of feline and canine specimens have been tested and obtained no positive COVID-19 results, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Photo by Randy LaBauve/LSU AgCenter
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture