Can dogs, cats and other pets contract COVID-19?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it's possible for animals to get COVID from people, but there's a low chance of animals spreading the virus to humans.
Most animals infected with the coronavirus had close contact with people who had COVID, such as pet owners and caretakers, the CDC said online.
Reports of animals infected with COVID have been documented worldwide, specifically in companion animals, zoo animals, mink on mink farms and wild white-tailed deer in the U.S.
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Although animals are able to contract and spread COVID, health officials said more studies are needed to know if and how different animals are impacted.
Based on current research, the CDC said there's no evidence that animals play a "significant role" in spreading SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19, to animals.
"Some coronaviruses that infect animals can be spread to people and then spread between people, but this is rare. This is what happened with SARS-CoV-2, which likely originated in bats," the CDC's website said.
Similar to humans, some animals with COVID are asymptomatic, though others could show signs of respiratory or gastrointestinal illness, health officials noted. Here are possible symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Nasal discharge
- Ocular discharge
The CDC advised people with COVID to quarantine away from animals while infected with the virus.
However, because the risk for pets spreading the virus to humans is low, health officials said necessary veterinary care for COVID-positive animals should not be withheld.
Additionally, service animals must be allowed to remain with their handlers despite a positive COVID test, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act.