After the episode in which a nine-year-old dog was slaughtered in South Carolina for having a diagnosis of coronavirus, the theme “COVID-19 in domestic animals” has been widely discussed. Among other questions, people have doubts whether pets can to transmit the disease for humans, if any domestic animal is able to contract it and if the owners must take care of their animals during quarantine.
Veterinarian Bruno Antunes, coordinator of the veterinary medicine and agronomy course at Uni-BH, explained to the State of Minas that everything indicates that animals cannot transmit coronavirus to humans. “This virus is specific to humans and there are great possibilities for its survival inside an animal, as well as the dissemination for other hosts, they are extremely low ”, he clarified.
“The cause of COVID-19 is a virus specific to humans, we have other coronaviruses that cause disease in animals, but that are not in humans,” said Bruno.
The master and doctor in Immunology and Infectious Diseases explained that the animals identified, until now, with COVID-19 were in houses where the owners were diagnosed with the disease and that, soon, the human probably transmitted the coronavirus to the animal, and Not the other way around. In addition, Bruno points out that almost no pets presented clinical disease, “they were only infected and had a diagnosis of the presence of the virus”.
Therefore, in most cases, animals did not show symptoms like humans, only a positive diagnosis by detecting the infectious agent that causes the coronavirus. According to the vet, cats that tested positive showed only respiratory changes and then returned to normal.
If a domestic animal is diagnosed with coronavirus, Bruno recommends that the owners follow the same recommendations already known, such as restricting contact between positive COVID-19 patients with humans and also with their pets, just in case. “We know that there is a possibility for humans to spread the virus to pets, but we are not sure if COVID-19 can cause changes in the health of these animals, so we are not taking any chances,” he explains.
About the dog sacrificed in South Carolina, Bruno explains that the owner of the animal was diagnosed with COVID-19. According to the veterinarian, the presence of the virus in the dog was identified, but it was not confirmed that the dog developed a clinical picture caused by the coronavirus. Euthanasia was performed due to the animal’s advanced age and the presence of chronic diseases.
The veterinarian informed that several national and international research centers are focused on better understanding the activity of this virus and its interaction both in man and in animals. “The results so far present reveal the low chance of transmitting this virus from animal to human”, he concluded.
* Intern under supervision of the publisher Liliane Corrêa