A new Chinese study, whose findings appear in the journal Science, looked at the possible contraction of the coronavirus in animals including domesticated cats, dogs ducks, ferrets, chickens, and pigs.
The results of the research showed that out of all the animals, ferrets and cats are the most likely to catch the virus. In fact, where dogs are least susceptible to the virus, cats can get it even via air transmission.
Initially, testing at the early days of the coronavirus pandemic looked at dogs and possible transmission of coronavirus but concluded that they are highly unlikely to contract the virus as well as transmit it further unto humans.
The highest rates of transmission are amongst people via coughing, sneezing, and any forms of physical contact. This is why the established guidelines from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommend maintaining six feet distance when heading out in any public spaces.
In addition, other risk factors that can maximize the further spread of virus including not wearing a mask while displaying symptoms of having a coronavirus infection which including sneezing and coughing.
Secondly, it is also possible to contract the virus from inanimate objects. According to studies, coronavirus is able to thrive and live on objects and surfaces for a time period of seventy-two hours.
However, since the virus needs a host for dividing and surviving, it would naturally not live longer than three days. Therefore, objects that are put away for this amount of time would be free of the virus.
For cutting down the risk of transmission through physical contact and hands, preventive measures such as using sanitizers before heading outdoors and upon returning as well as not touching areas of the face including eyes, nose, and mouth are also highly effective.
Since earlier research has shown that coronavirus is able to enter the body and infect via inanimate objects, a big number of people were also concerned about transmission via household pets such as dogs and cats.
The recent study adds to these concerns by showing how cats and ferrets are indeed susceptible to the virus. A few days ago, the four years old Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York was also diagnosed with coronavirus.
On the other hand, specialists in veterinary fields and medication emphasized on how the study was small-scale and used a higher than usual amount of coronavirus in injections given to the tested animals.
The animals are not likely to encounter that amount in real life. Secondly, they also stated that there are very low chances of humans contracting the virus from ferrets, cats, and other animals.
The assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine at Ohio State University, Jeanette O’Quin, further stressed on how the COVID-19 is a human disease. The primary focus should be on a person to person transmission and not on transmission via animals.
David O’Connor, who is a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison states that while it is possible to contract the virus from cats, the risk if extremely low.
No cases of pets to human transmission of the coronavirus have yet been reported to any authorities. Additionally, there are also studies that have shown that pets such as cats and dogs living with infections humans did not contract the virus.
For instance, Jane Sykes, who is a professor of small animal medicine at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine highlighted a large study involving four thousand animals, none of which were diagnosed with the coronavirus.
According to Sykes, the bond between pets and their owners can play a fundamental role in managing stress levels during the coronavirus pandemic.
Even though there is little evidence on pets contracting the virus, most of the owners should not take steps like abandoning pets at all. Instead, it is better to quarantine cats, dogs, and other pets and protect them as well.