A message from our Chief Medical Officer – Timothy Smith, DVM, MBA
Since the first report a few days ago that the coronavirus, COVID-19, was found on swabs of a dog’s nose and mouth, the world has been waiting to see if dogs can contract this disease. The dog in question, a Pomeranian which was living with an infected person in Hong Kong, is in quarantine and showing no clinical signs of disease. However, the scientists in Hong Kong are now reporting that the dog does have a COVID-19 infection and not just carrying the virus on its mucous membranes. This finding will likely generate a lot of questions and concerns.
Please keep in mind that a variety of coronaviruses are found in people, dogs, cats, birds and reptiles. Some of these viruses can cause disease and illness in the animal, and some do not.
- Except for this one dog, as of today there are no reports of pets being infected with the virus and becoming ill. The current pandemic virus likely originated in bats in one small area in China.
- It is still not known if a dog can transmit the disease to a human or another pet. This one dog seems to have been infected by its owner who was sick with the disease. Again, the dog is not sick or showing symptoms, but is being quarantined.
- At this time, we do not know if pets will get sick from the virus. This one dog is healthy with no signs of illness. More testing of dogs will likely occur in the coming months but we will have to wait and see if there are any ill effects of the virus to our pets.
- The most important things for pet owners to continue are the same hygiene and contact avoidance recommendations we are all following right now; handwashing, not shaking hands, staying home if you are sick all still apply. Keeping the pets of infected humans away from other pets may be a good step but that is not officially being recommended in the US and more research needs to be performed.
Please see the following websites for up to date information:
If you have any questions or concerns we recommend you reach out to your primary care veterinarian.