While health experts are still understanding how coronavirus identifies and infects its animal targets, many pets have confirmed having COVID-19 mainly transmitted from humans. It may sound surprising but pets including dogs and cats can also exhibit the standard COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, breathing problems, and cough. After spending one whole year into this pandemic, South Korea has finally come up with this first-ever COVID-19 testing facility which is designed for pets. The purpose of testing pets is to make sure if they are exposed to any person who happens to be a COVID-19 carrier.
The program which started in the capital city, Seoul has been launched after a few weeks that the country reported the presence of coronavirus in a kitten. The testing center will start its function from today, as confirmed by Seoul metropolitan government. All local residents can get their pet cats and pet dogs tested for coronavirus. However, this testing facility is only limited to those pets which are exhibiting clear signs of the virus i.e., cough, breathing problems, fever, runny nose, etc, which showed up after they were exposed to any person who turned out COVID-19 positive.
This is the first-ever COVID-19 testing facility for pets despite the widespread infection in most-hit countries like the US, UK, and others. The COVID-19 rate in South Korea is relatively much lesser than in these countries, still, the government is trying everything to get control over this situation.
According to the local government, this new COVID-19 testing for pets will take place near the location of the pet owner’s house. It will be conducted by certified healthcare workers which will include a veterinarian.
All those animals who turned out positive will be asked to follow home isolation for nearly 14 days. However, in cases where the pet owners are COVID-19 positive, these pets will be separated from them and sent to shelters. COVID-19 patients in the country can live in central quarantine facilities if their condition doesn’t need a hospital-based treatment.
Although the country reported its first case of COVID-19 in a pet a few weeks ago, the presence of coronavirus in pets is not new. There have been reports on various animals including pet dogs and pet cats from different parts of the world which were infected with the deadly coronavirus. This virus has killed at least two million individuals to this day and these deaths continue to increase every day. Still the effects of coronavirus in pets are largely unknown.
Last year two gorillas residing in the San Diego Zoo in California, US were found COVID-19 positive. Health experts assumed that these gorillas got coronavirus from any zoo worker, who was probably asymptomatic.
In addition to that, Denmark, which happens to be the biggest mink fur producer in the whole world suffered from a COVID-19 outbreak in minks and ordered the culling of all Mink farms nationwide.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests isolating the pet at home, if there are clear viral symptoms and contact a veterinarian if need. Although the origin of COVID-19 can be linked back to an animal (most probably a bat), there is still not enough data to predict how animals play a role in its spread.
Based on all the data that is currently available, it is unclear how different animals may contract this virus and spread it. In all cases, people having clear signs of COVID-19 should avoid animal contact, including contact with pet cats and dogs.