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COVID-19 and Your Pet

Family, Pets

Advice from the Australian Veterinary Association to pet owners 

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that infect birds and mammals, including humans. They are often associated with the common cold, bronchitis and pneumonia, and can also affect the gut. The virus that causes COVID-19 is also a coronavirus and likely originated from a wildlife reservoir. Canine coronavirus, which can cause diarrhoea, and feline coronavirus, which can cause feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), have been seen by veterinarians for many years. They do not cause infections in humans. These coronaviruses are not associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Can COVID-19 infect pets?

There have been reports from Hong Kong that a dog owned by a patient with COVID-19 has tested positive to the presence of the virus in its nose and mouth. This is may be a case of human to animal transmission, however the dog’s first blood tests have been negative. At this stage there is no evidence that pet dogs or cats are a source of infection to other animals or humans. We are continuing to monitor this situation and will provide updated information as it becomes available.

 

Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?

As the outbreak continues, a number of pet owners will be placed in quarantine, either with confirmed COVID-19 infection or due to exposure. We know that your pet is part of your family and you will want them to have the same level of protection and care as any other family member. Current information suggests there is no apparent risk to you or your pet from being in quarantine with you. However, we do advise all pet owners continue to practice appropriate hand hygiene before and after handling their pet, their food and washing food/water bowls. At no stage should pet owners do anything that may compromise the welfare of their pets. We suggest minimising close contact with your pet during this time, such as hugging, face to face contact or sleeping on your bed.

What do I do if I am in quarantine or self-isolation and my pet is unwell?

If you are in quarantine, do not break quarantine to take your pet to the veterinarian even if your pet is unwell. By doing this you will put your veterinarian and staff at risk of infection. Ring your veterinary surgery first and ask for advice. If your pet needs to be seen, your veterinarian will be able to work with you to ensure your pet will receive the care they need, while keeping themselves and their staff safe from COVID-19 infection. If your vet provides house calls, please let them know you are under quarantine before they arrive.

If you have any other concerns about your pet, please ask your Fur Life Vet.

Note that this is a rapidly evolving situation and advice provided here is reflective of the evidence at hand on 16 March 2020. For up to date information on the COVID-19 situation in Australia go to health.gov.au

Another Great Article on COVID-19 and Your Pet

Here’s why you needn’t worry about pets spreading COVID-19

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


A Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong grabbed the international media’s attention this week after scientists found traces of coronavirus in the canine. Following confirmation that the dog’s owner was positive for the virus causing COVID-19, the dog was taken from Hong Kong Island to a nearby animal quarantine facility. Subsequent tests performed on swabs collected from the dog’s nose and throat unexpectedly revealed coronavirus.

These results have raised many questions and concerns. Can our dogs really catch the virus? Should we be worried about our pets getting sick? Could dogs spread coronavirus between people?

A positive test for coronavirus in this dog simply means that a small piece of viral genome was detected in a sample. PCR (a test used to detect genetic material) is a highly sensitive method of testing but is unable to tell whether coronavirus was replicating in the dog or whether the dog had simply licked contaminated surfaces in the home.




Read more:
Coronavirus: a weekly update from The Conversation’s global network of academics


It is unknown exactly how long the virus causing COVID-19 disease, called SARS-CoV-2, can survive in the environment. A study of other coronaviruses suggests they can remain infectious for several days if the temperature and humidity are right. Given that we don’t even know if the virus detected was infectious or not, we have no idea whether virus replication occurred in this particular dog.

We know that SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted by droplets, so it’s possible that dogs could act as dirty tissues, or “fomites”, that walk the virus around if adequate hygiene is not maintained.

 

Whereas SARS-CoV-2 has the limelight at present, there are actually many different types of coronaviruses, and coronaviruses infecting dogs is nothing new. The first coronavirus to be reported in dogs was back in 1974. More recently in 2003, a novel canine coronavirus causing respiratory disease was identified in dogs in an animal shelter in the UK. This virus has since been reported worldwide.

Although canine coronaviruses are distinct from SARS-CoV-2, dogs are clearly susceptible to this family of viruses. Despite this, there are no previous instances of human coronaviruses infecting dogs or vice versa. For a virus to jump species, there are several hurdles they must overcome.

The major barrier that stops a virus infecting a new type of animal is the host-cell surface. To infect canine cells, SARS-CoV-2 must be able to bind (attach) to canine receptors. Thanks to rapid research, we now know that SARS-CoV-2 uses the proteins ACE2 and TMPRSS2 to gain entry into cells. Dogs have both these proteins, but they are not identical to the human versions, so the virus may not be able to use them as efficiently.

If we assume that the virus can bind, enter and replicate within canine cells (this is still a big if), then it is reasonable for dog owners to be worried about whether their dogs will become sick following infection. It is reassuring that the Pomeranian at the centre of this media attention has not shown any signs of illness. Though this is a single case study, there is no reason to believe that the human virus should cause disease in dogs at this stage.

Could dogs transmit SARS-CoV-2 to humans?

To pass on coronavirus, the virus must replicate in dogs at high enough levels to be released from the body. Reports state that only low levels of the virus could be detected in the Pomeranian. How much virus does it take to infect a person? Again, we don’t yet know.

We do know for a number of different viruses that, although human-to-dog transmission is theoretically possible, human-to-human spread is much more efficient. We and others have shown that dogs can be susceptible to human norovirus, a major cause of vomiting and diarrhoea worldwide. Yet despite millions of cases of this virus each year, only a single definitive instance of human-to-dog transmission has been reported. Full genome sequencing was instrumental in that particular case, and will also be required to conclusively prove a role for dogs in the current SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.

Even in the worst-case scenario of coronavirus being able to replicate in dogs at reasonable levels, it is safe to assume that you are much more likely to be infected by your neighbour than your dog. However, it is essential to practice good hygiene around any pets. This will prevent them from inadvertently carrying viruses on their coats and spreading it from person to person. Please cough into your elbow, not on to your dog.

Sarah L Caddy, Clinical Research Fellow in Viral Immunology and Veterinary Surgeon, University of Cambridge

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

How to enter

Simply share a photo on your Facebook page of your dog rugged up for winter or enjoying the winter sunshine and use the hashtag relevant to your state.

What you can win

There will be three prizes in total – one for QLD entrants and two prizes for entrants from VIC, NSW and TAS combined prize. Each prize includes a winter pet pack to the value of $100.

Click on your state to reveal the hashtag you need to use to enter!

QLD Residents

Share a photo of your dog enjoying the winter sunshine or snoozing in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetQLD

VIC Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetVIC

NSW Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetNSW

TAS Residents

Share a photo of your dog rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes and tag #furlifevetTAS

Terms & Conditions

Information on how to enter and prizes form part of these conditions. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by these conditions. Entries must comply with these conditions to be valid.

Entry is open to Australian residents that meet the competition requirements outlined below during the Competition period 1 June 2022 – 31 August 2022. Employees and their immediate families of the Promoter and its agencies associated with this competition are ineligible to enter.

To enter, each entrant must, during the Entry Period, upload a photo of their pet rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes to social media (on their personal profile) and use the hashtag corresponding to the state they are in (e.g. #furlifevetVIC, #furlifevetNSW, #furlifevetQLD, #furlifevetTAS).

Winner of the competition will be determined by:

  1. Appropriate photo uploaded (photo of their pet rugged up for winter or snoozing warm inside in their favourite winter clothes to social media (on their personal profile)
  2. Relevant hashtag used (state residing in: #furlifevetVIC, #furlifevetNSW, #furlifevetQLD, #furlifevetTAS)
  3. Number of likes (photo with highest number of likes at end of competition period with all other criteria completed will win)

The competition will close for entries Wednesday, 31 August 2022 at 12:00pm [AEST]. Failure to meet any of the competition requirements will deem entry invalid and will not be eligible to win.

There will be three prizes in total – one for QLD entrants and two prizes for entrants from VIC, NSW and TAS combined.

 

Competition requirements:

Entrants must be a current client of a participating Apiam/Fur Life Vet clinic.

Entries must be received by the Promoter during the Entry Period. Entries received after 12:00pm [AEST] 31 August 2022 not be accepted.

The competition commences at 00:01 [AEST] on 01/06/2022 and closes at 12:00 [AEDT] 31/08/2022.

Queensland prize includes a pet pack to the value of $100.00.

Victorian, New South Wales, and Tasmanian prize includes two separate pet packs to the value of $100.00.

All taxes (excluding GST) which may be payable as a consequence of receiving a prize are the sole responsibility of the winner.

The Prize is not transferable and is not redeemable for cash.

The Promoter assumes no responsibility for any failure to receive an entry or for inaccurate information or for any loss, damage or injury as a result of technical or telecommunications problems, including security breaches. If such problems arise, then the Promoter may modify, cancel, terminate or suspend the competition.

If the prize becomes unavailable for reasons beyond the Promoter’s control, the Promoter may substitute a prize of equal or greater value.

The winner will be notified by email on or by 10/09/2022.

Entrants consent to the Promoter using their name, images submitted, pets name, comment, and/or voice in the event that they are a winner in any media for an unlimited period of time without remuneration for the purpose of promoting this competition (including any outcome), as well as any other communications outside of this competition, and/or promoting any products manufactured, distributed and/or supplied by the Promoter. If you are not willing for these uses or disclosures to occur you cannot participate in the competition.

Further, entrants agree that the Promoter has an unrestricted, irrevocable, transferable, divisible right and licence to use and modify their entry for the purposes of the Promoter’s business including for promotional purposes without the payment of any further fee or compensation.

If requested by the Promoter, the entrant agrees to sign any further documentation required by the Promoter to give effect to this arrangement. To the extent permitted by law, entrants unconditionally and irrevocably consent to any act or omission that would otherwise infringe any moral rights in their entry. Entries remain the property of the Promoter. Details from entries will be collected and used for the purposes of conducting this competition (which may include disclosure to third parties for the purpose of processing and conducting the competition) and for promotional purposes surrounding this competition. By entering this competition entrants consent to the use of their information as described and agree that the Promoter may use this information, or disclose it to other organisations that may use it, in any media for future promotional purposes without any further reference or payment to the entrant.

By entering this competition, entrants consent for the Promoter to use entrant’s name, email address, phone number which entrants submitted to enter for the purposes of administering and operating the competition. Entry is conditional on the Promoter acquiring the aforementioned information. All personal information collected by the Promoter will be handled by the Promoter in accordance with the Promoter’s privacy policy (PRIVACY) Entrants have the right to access their personal information, request correction of any errors and/or obtain a copy of the Promoter’s privacy policy by contacting getvetchecked@furlifevet.com.au.

The Promoter is Apiam Animal Health Pty Limited (ACN: 604 961 024) at 27-33 Piper Lane East Bendigo, 3550, Victoria, Australia.

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