With COVID-19 taking an uprising in cases, and further studies coming out everyday, there are some additional questions that have come up, that were unexplainable, when the virus first started out. However, with more ongoing information and research, the question, “Can dogs and cats get coronavirus?” is one that might just have an explanation— and one that you might not expect.
The coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, however canine and feline coronaviruses infect only animals, and not humans. However, like the virus that first originated, resided in bats, which then transmitted to humans. So in this sense, animals did play some role in the spread of COVID-19. According to the CDC, recent research shows that animals such as cats, can be infected by experiment, and spread the virus in a laboratory setting to other animals of the same species. One study on the other hand, shows that some dogs can get infected but might not spread the virus as easily to other dogs as compared to cats and ferrets.
On June 2, a German Shepard in New York was the first dog in the United States to test positive for SARS-Cov-2. (USDA). The dog showed signs of respiratory illness, and samples were taken. So yes, dogs could get COVID-19.
Again in New York, on April 22, two cats were confirmed with the virus. Both of them live in two different parts of the state, each presenting mild respiratory illness and are expected to make a full recovery (CDC). The first cat was not living with anyone presenting symptoms, so the virus must have been transmitted by mildly ill or asymptomatic household members. However, the second one’s owner had tested positive for COVID-19.
But a question to keep in mind is— can they spread it? While studies show the ways animals can contract the virus, at this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. And although you may not get it from your pet, it’s important to take the necessary precautions for the safety of your loved furry friend. Things such as avoiding public places where a large number of people gather, practicing good pet hygiene, and social distancing even when on walks can protect them from getting the virus. You can learn more about how to keep your pet healthy here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/pets.html
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/stakeholder-info/sa_by_date/sa-2020/sa-06/sars-cov-2-dog - COVID-19 in Pet Dog in New York
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/pets.html - If you have pets
https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/s0422-covid-19-cats-NYC.html - Two Cats in New York with COVID-19