Veterinarians are now advised to wear PPE when examining pets owned by COVID-19 (Wikimedia: Canadianknowledgelover)
Tiger at Bronx Zoo in New York tests positive for coronavirus
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A report from a cat who tested positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong and a preliminary Chinese study showing that cats can transmit the virus to other cats prompted the Australian Veterinary Association to advise their members to wear personal protective equipment when handling cats with COVID. 19 positive owners.
- Cats can contract COVID-19 and spread the virus to other cats
- There is no evidence of cat-to-human transmission, but veterinarians tell anyone with COVID-19 to keep their cats indoors.
- Veterinarians say infected people can spread the infection to their cats
The AVA also recommended that sick owners keep their cats indoors.
Council came the same weekend, the Bronx Zoo in the United States reported that a tiger had also tested positive for COVID-19.
Nadia, the Malaysian tiger from the Bronx Zoo, tested positive for the coronavirus. (AP: Julie Larsen Maher)
However, veterinarians pointed out that there is so far no evidence that humans can obtain COVID-19 from cats.
“There are now more than 1.2 million cases of COVID-19 infection reported in humans worldwide and no case of human infection has been demonstrated by a cat,” said Professor Vanessa. Barrs, former director of the Small Animal. Medicine at the University of Sydney.
“What we do know is that occasionally infected people can spread the infection to their cats. “
Veterinarians urged to exercise caution
Australian Veterinarians Association President Dr. Julia Crawford said owners of COVID-19 positive animals should minimize contact with their animals to reduce the risk of infection and keep their animals inside.
“If you are sick, treat your pet as you would any other member of the household. Do not kiss, pet, or sneeze it. Ask someone else to take care of them and keep washing your hands, “she said.
Veterinarians have been advised to defer any treatment, except emergency treatment, for pets owned by COVID-19 positive. (ABC News: Adrienne Francis)
Dr. Crawford said veterinarians in particular should take extra care due to their high exposure to cats during veterinary procedures and should be careful until the risk of infection from animals is fully understood.
“We don’t know what kind of virus it would take to transmit it to humans from a pet. Most of the time, the transmission would likely come from their coat, the same way you would from a door or anything you touch. ” she said.
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She said that veterinarians must remain healthy in order to care for the animals.
“What we are asking is that people call their veterinarian before entering. We can do a lot of things over the phone. We can arrange an appointment at the parking lot, ”said Dr. Crawford.
“We are not going to give up animal welfare, but we are going to protect our staff by limiting human contact. “
The AVA recommended that veterinarians reschedule all procedures except critical or emergency when the owners are positive for COVID-19 until the owner has authorized quarantine.
Dr. Crawford reiterated that cats and dogs posed no risk to households.
“Your pet is part of your family. There is nothing to suggest that it will harm you. Abandoning your cat or dog because of COVID-19 is not a reasonable thing to do, “she said.
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Hong Kong tests cats and dogs
Hong Kong authorities tested 44 animals belonging to patients infected with COVID-19, including 29 dogs and 15 cats.
“What they found out was that only three of these animals, two dogs and a cat, were infected,” said Professor Barrs.
“So this is a total infection rate of only 6.8%. What tells me is that even among a population of high-risk animals that are exposed to infected people, the risk of infection is still very low. “
Hong Kong leads research efforts on COVID-19 impact on animals (Flickr: Mariusz Kluzniak)
The Harbin Veterinary Research Institute’s Chinese study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, concluded that cats were very sensitive to COVID-19 and could transmit the virus to other cats. The study recommended that authorities test cats as well as humans for COVID-19.
Research has shown that dogs are not very vulnerable to COVID-19 capture.
Professor Barrs said the Harbin study did not imitate natural infections and had not yet been reviewed by the scientific community.
She urged the public not to draw any conclusions until the study has gone through the peer review process.
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