Medical experts have confirmed the first case of coronavirus in a pet cat in the UK. It doesn’t mean that pets are transmitting this deadly disease to humans. But it looks like that the cat has acquired this virus from his owner who was coronavirus positive some time ago.
Yet it has triggered a new debate on coronavirus risks for pets, also promoting a new bizarre trend of making pets wear a face mask, like humans. It is somehow a failed strategy for pets as these face masks could potentially suffocate and kill these innocent animals.
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The case of transmission of the coronavirus from pets to humans is extremely rare and health experts believe it is not a thing to worry about right now.
Christine Middlemiss is the chief veterinary officer in the UK. According to her, this possibility is almost impossible as the identified and suspected animals only showed mild signs and recovered on their own without requiring treatment.
There is no evidence that pets are behind transmitting coronavirus to humans. But the medical experts are working to find any possibility of it being true. Right now, they are monitoring this case closely and on the basis of final results, they will share new guidelines for pet owners.
Yvonne Doyle is the director of health protection at Public Health England. She advises people to follow good hand hygiene especially before and after touching or playing with their pets or animals in general.
Cats and dogs have thick fur which is highly likely to contain a pathogen that could make anyone sick. But it doesn’t mean that this fur contains coronavirus.
Previously a vet took a sample from a cat to test feline herpes virus which is common in pet cats. This same sample was also run against Sars-Cov-2 later.
Although this is not the only case of identifying coronavirus in pet cats, there are a few other cases mainly in North America, Asia, and Europe reporting the same.
Daniella Dos Santos holds the presidency chair at the British Veterinary Association. She says that the association recommends all self-isolating people to stop contact with their pets. It is to make sure that they are not transmitting the virus to them. Along with that, they should follow good hygiene practices especially hand hygiene.
The Association further recommends people who are diagnosed with the virus or suspect having it should limit their pets indoors if it is not stressing the pets. It is better if they remain indoor and follow isolation like practice until their owners recover completely.
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Otherwise, there is a slight possibility that they may carry and transmit the virus to other animals or humans, in the worst case. However, these recommendations aren’t based on any scientific evidence. These are a part of precautionary steps to control the spread of coronavirus.
The cats infected with the virus are likely to show symptoms that may confirm that they are diseased.
While it is sensible to keep the pets inside during the coronavirus outbreak, there are many considerations that could help to control such a situation.
If the owner is not exposed to or diagnosed with the virus, there is the least chance of coronavirus in pet cats or dogs. In any case, it is better not to touch the nose, mouth, or eyes after touching or patting a pet.