Can Dogs Get Coronavirus?

Can dogs get corona virus
5 minutes to read

With over 200,000 people infected with coronavirus globally, pet parents are getting worried about the plight of their pets. Can dogs get coronavirus? Read on to find out.

 

Dogs cannot contract the Covid-19 virus which is currently affecting humans. But dogs contract a canine form of coronavirus disease that affects the digestive system mostly. Symptoms of canine coronavirus may include vomiting and diarrhea.

 

A Pomeranian in Hong Kong belonging to a 60-year-old woman tested ‘weak positive’ for coronavirus on Feb 28. The dog had been on quarantine from 26th February through to March 4th. Eventually, the dog tested negative and got discharged but on arriving home, it died.

This was the only first case of Human-to-animal transmission of the novel coronavirus. Still in Hong Kong, a second dog, a German Shepard, tested positive for Covid-19. So does this mean dogs can get coronavirus from humans?

Before we get to that, let us first find out how the coronavirus is transmitted.

 

What is Coronavirus?

corona virus or covid-19

Coronavirus is a group of viruses that are known to cause respiratory illnesses like the Flu. in the past, the coronavirus has been responsible for two deadly illnesses;

  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

All coronaviruses are described as zoonotic. This means they can only be transmitted from animals to humans. Covid-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that is targeting humans alone.

 

This virus now likes humans but data show it is not spreading among pets or farm animals

-Dr. William Schaffner, professor of medicine

 

So you can relax. Pets are not likely to get coronavirus from humans. But what about the Pomeranian that died after contracting Covid-19? We are going to answer that later in the article.

For now, we need to answer an important question. Can pets transmit coronavirus to humans?

It is likely but not in the way we imagine it.

 

Pet to human transmission of coronavirus

Pet to human transmission of covid-19

Dogs cannot get infected by Covid-19 but they can be carriers of the virus. If an infected person pets a dog with their hands, they could pass the virus onto the dog’s coat.

Coronaviruses, like SARS, can remain airborne for up to 3 hours. The same virus survives on nonporous surfaces like copper and steel for 4 hours and cardboard for 24 hours. According to the National Health Institute, Coronavirus can survive on plastic and stainless steel for up to 3 days!

Luckily, coronavirus will have a hard time surviving on a porous surface like hair. But it has to be the right kind of hair.

Coronavirus cannot attach to hair that is still attached to its follicle. This is because the skin produces natural, with disinfecting properties, onto the follicles. This layer of oil prevents the virus from attaching to the hair strands effectively.

 

Usually. Viruses survive for lesser durations on porous surfaces, such as hair than smooth surfaces such as stainless steel.

-Dr. Saad Omer, Yale Institute for Global Health

 

How about hair strands that are pulled off the follicle?

Dead hair lacks these antimicrobial oils to protect it from viruses. Coronavirus can attach to the dead hair and remain dormant for 3 days until it finds a host. Whoa!

Now back to finding out if your pooch can pass the coronavirus to you.

If a sick person pets your dog, chances are they will pass the viruses to your dog. If your dog has any loose hairs, or pet dander, on his coat, the viruses are likely to attach on them. Viruses can also attach to hairless areas like the skin and paw pads.

When a healthy person pets the same dogs harboring the coronavirus, the virus is then passed on to them. According to a 2015 medical study by the University of Australia, the average person touches their face at least 16 times in an hour. Getting infected with the coronavirus can easily happen before the three days (the period virus is dormant on hair) are over.

 

Can dogs get coronavirus?

Can dogs get corona virus

The new strain of coronavirus, Covid-19, is not at all a threat to dogs. But dogs can suffer a canine version of the coronavirus known as canine coronavirus disease or CCoV.

Canine coronavirus disease mostly affects the digestive system of dogs. Puppies are more likely to contract it because of their low immunity. Older dogs also are at risk because their immune systems are not as strong.

Symptoms of canine coronavirus disease include;

  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

Puppies are likely to suffer diarrhea with a foul order or orangish color. Fortunately, canine coronavirus is not as severe as Covid-19. Infected puppies usually recover within 10 days or less. If the sickness prolongs or worsens, a secondary virus or bacteria likely took advantage of the decreased immunity.

 

How is canine coronavirus transmitted?

A puppy can contract CCOV if they come into contact with the contaminated feces of an infected dog. Also, dogs can get infected with canine coronavirus from sharing feeding bowls or if they directly touch an infected dog.

 

How can you prevent coronavirus in dogs?

Fortunately, the new strain of coronavirus cannot affect your dog. But it is good to minimize the chances of the virus passing from your dog to other humans.

  • Wash your dog with pet approved shampoos especially if they are frequently petted. Soap breaks down the viruses killing them completely.
  • Wash your hands each time you pet your dog.
  • Minimize your dog’s movement outside. Find interesting indoor activities you can indulge your dog during this quarantine period.
  • Feed your dog a high-quality diet. This makes their immune system strong enough to fight any viral or bacterial infection.

 

Conclusion

Can dogs get coronavirus? With only one case of human-to-animal transmission reported, it is safe to say that the chances of your dog catching Covid-19 are very low. But your dog can get infected with canine coronavirus which causes diarrhea and vomiting. Grooming your dog and feeding them a healthy diet can help prevent infection of CCoV.

 

Resources

  1. Can Dogs Get Coronavirus? By AKC Staff, akc.org
  2. Covid-19 Coronavirus Outbreak By Worldometer, worldometer.com
  3. Your Pet Won’t Give You Coronavirus, So Hug Away, Experts Say By Sandee LaMotte, cnn.om
  4. Coronavirus By World Health Organization, who.int
  5. Canine Coronavirus Disease By Rania Gollakner, DVM, MPH, vcahospitals.com
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