Pet dog catches Covid in the first confirmed case in the UK after dogs contracted the virus from its infected owner
- Officials believe the dog got the virus from its owner
- The animal suffered only from mild symptoms and was washed after going to the vet
- It is now at home in full recovery after being diagnosed last Wednesday
The British government has today confirmed its first case of a dog that has been infected with Covid.
It said the dog’s infection was discovered after testing at a laboratory in Weybridge, Surrey, on November 3.
The dog is believed to have received the virus from its owner, who tested positive days earlier, and it is now recovering at home.
The infection was picked up while the dog was being treated by veterinarians for an unrelated condition.
Britain’s Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss stressed that Covid cases in animals were ‘very rare’.
But while this is the first official case in the UK, there have been several reports that pets have been given Covid.
The same laboratory in Weybridge detected coronavirus in a cat last year, but it was never officially confirmed.
And research from the Netherlands suggests that the virus can be quite easily transmitted from infected owners to their cats and dogs.
Officials said the dog got the virus from its owner. It is now recovering at home (file image)
Dr. Middlemiss said: ‘Experiments carried out by the Danish Veterinary and Plant Health have confirmed that the virus responsible for Covid-19 has been detected in a dog in the UK.
‘The infected dog was undergoing treatment for another unrelated condition and is now recovering.
‘It is very rare for dogs to become infected and they will usually show only mild clinical signs and recover within a few days.
‘There is no clear evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will update our guide for pet owners if the situation changes. ‘
The first pet tested positive for Covid was a 17-year-old Pomeranian who arrived in Hong Kong.
The animal was quarantined by officials upon arrival. It was only allowed to return home after being declared ‘disease free’, but died a few days later.
Researchers from the Ralph Veterinary Referral Center in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, also confirmed two Covid infections in cats and one in a dog between January and February this year.
The animals had their rectum cleaned and the sample was sent to France for analysis.
The dog suffered from lethargy, loss of appetite and diarrhea during his infection.
A sphynx cat suffered from fainting or fainting when it had the virus, while a short hair in the home was reported to be lethargic.
Advice from the British Health Safety Agency – which replaced the now defunct Public Health England – says that animals can get the disease.
It advises owners to wash their hands before and after contact with their pets and not share food, food bowls or utensils with the animals.
But there is no evidence that regular washing of pets can control the spread of the virus, they added.
Dogs and Covid: Questions and Answers
How to catch dogs coronavirus?
Dogs become infected in the same way as humans, by inhaling drops after an infected person coughs or sneezes.
There have been a handful of cases around the world and almost everyone seems to have caught it by their owners. Fortunately, animals are far less susceptible to the virus.
The first dog to catch Covid was a 17-year-old Pomeranian who tested positive in Hong Kong. It was quarantined by the authorities.
Could cats and other things do animals get it too?
Yes, there have been cases in cats and other pets around the world. Some animals are particularly susceptible.
Hundreds of thousands of mink have been slaughtered on farms in Spain and the Netherlands after outbreaks.
Can humans catch Covid from infected pets?
There is no evidence that animals transmit it to humans, and research suggests that they do not ‘excrete’ enough viruses to be contagious.
However, government scientists have warned that animals can act as ‘fomites’, in the same way that surfaces like door handles do.
For example, if an infected person coughed on their dog, the virus could survive on its fur and be transmitted to another person when they stroke it.
I have tested positive – how can I protect my pet?
Public Health England has encouraged pet owners to wash their hands before and after contact with animals. The British Veterinary Association advises infected people to limit contact with animals.
Owners who test positive should also keep cats indoors if possible.
Should I put a mask on my cat or dog?
None! Dr. Jenny Stavisky, from the University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine, explains: ‘They will probably find it scary. However, it may be a good idea to try to get your pet used to gently watching people wear masks so they do not get scared. ‘