Cat had difficulty breathing and digestion
Researchers appear to have detected a coronavirus infection in a cat in France. The Parisian pet had difficulty breathing and digestion, French media reported on Saturday. The cat lived with a person suffering from Covid-19. A pug with the corona virus had also been infected in the United States last week. The animal was the first dog in the United States to be diagnosed with respiratory disease Covid-19, the American Humane Society said. Previously, a tiger lady had been infected with the corona virus at the Bronx Zoo in New York (USA). The big cat showed symptoms like dry cough and loss of appetite and tested positive for Covid-19. A cat from Belgium is said to have been infected with the corona virus by its owner.
But what does that mean for other pet owners? Is my pet at risk too? And if so, can dogs and cats also infect us with the corona virus? Panic is unnecessary and not helpful: « From a scientific point of view, there has been no reason to abandon pets for fear of infection or to take them to the animal shelter, » said Dr. Stefan Hetz, biologist and specialist for pets at the ZZF even before the proven cases. But that pets play no role in the transmission now seems outdated. We explain what you need to watch out for now.
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In the video: The infected tiger lady from New York
Can pets transmit the corona virus?
So far, it has not been assumed that dogs or cats pose a risk of infection to humans or play a role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2. This was announced, among other things, by the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI), the Federal Research Institute for Animal Health. Experts from the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization of the United Nations (WHO) confirmed this assessment.
How then do the previous infections in pets fit into the picture? « To date there have been rather anecdotal stories that the virus has been detected in pets, » explains virologist Martin Stürmer. « In most cases, it also turned out that the virus was absorbed by the environment and that it was not an infection at all. »
However, laboratory tests have shown in the past that cats can become infected – which corresponds to the current case from France and the cases from New York (tigers also belong to the family of cats) and Belgium. « But that will likely be limited to isolated cases and not one of the great ways in which the virus can spread. »
How can an animal become infected?
The contact with the animal must « be very, very close, » points out strikers. « In principle, the same applies to hygiene as when dealing with other people. If I am infected myself, I also avoid contact with my fellow human beings and therefore I shouldn’t necessarily cuddle with my cat or pet if I am have symptoms myself. » He recommends washing your hands regularly with soap and avoiding licking a dog or cat’s face, for example. Even if it is meant by the animal as proof of love and is considered as such by most owners, it is not advisable – not only in times of Corona – to protect against diseases.
Do I have to be careful if my dog gets sick? What precautions can I take?
« You have to know your dog and cat well and immediately identify any behavioral problems and then seek medical advice. If you find wild animals with behavioral problems, you should keep your distance and not touch them or call experts. to then deal with these animals, « advises Dr. Christian Voigt from the Leibniz Institute.
No measures such as segregation or quarantine are currently recommended for dogs and cats. Separation from your pet is therefore not necessary. « However, sampling and testing for a SARS-CoV-2 infection may be advisable in individual cases and if symptoms occur in the animals, in order to obtain further information on contagion scenarios, » it continues. In this case, the responsible health authority must contact the veterinary authority. Detection in animals follows the same test procedure as in humans.
But how bad is Covid 19 disease for animals? So far, according to virologist Martin Stürmer, it seems as if the animals are recovering and not dying from the corona virus. « But so far we have been dealing with isolated cases and we certainly cannot draw any conclusions as a whole. »
Can an infected animal pass on the coronavirus?
According to the striker, there is still no information on whether animals can transmit the virus back to humans. « Apparently it seems to be transferable from cat to cat. The extent to which it can be traced back to humans is not known, but that will probably also be very unlikely. »
Go for a walk despite quarantine at home?
Many dog owners who are in quarantine due to a possible or proven coronavirus infection wonder if they can still take their dogs for a walk. The answer to this question and how it is with a prescribed curfew can be found here.
TVNOW documentary: What we learn from the crisis
What lessons can we learn from the biggest postwar crisis so far? We spoke to experts. Was the state too inconsistent? Did the schools close too quickly? What to do about the hamster chaos? And what’s the real reason thousands of vacationers are stranded around the world? See the TVNOW documentary: « What we learn from the crisis ».