COVID-19 and Animals
We would like to update you on animals and COVID-19. The coronavirus family contains many different types of viruses, and covid-19 is a new virus in this family. There are numerous coronaviruses that infect animals and humans, but these are usually species specific, and are NOT transferred from species to species. For example cats have a very unique coronavirus that is highly infectious between cats, but a human cannot catch this type of cat coronavirus, nor can we act as carriers to spread it. You may have recently read our calf scours article that also talks about bovine coronavirus – this also is not transmissible to humans and is very different to covid-19. These coronaviruses have been around for years, without changes to their virulence, disease spread or characteristics.
At this point in time COVID-19 testing on animals (dogs and cats mostly) has not shown that the animals can be infected, or act as carriers where the virus lives in them. We do think that animals can be similar to door handles – IE if an infected person rubs virus all over their coat, then for a few hours the virus may live in their coat until its killed by the environment – however, we do not know if this will be enough of the virus to infect another human. This reminds us the importance of washing our hands before and after patting animals, or touching livestock, especially if we are not feeling well. COVID-19 can be easily destroyed by soap/shampoo and water so if you have any concerns you can bathe your animal in a animal-safe shampoo – although we don’t recommend doing this more than weekly, otherwise you may dry out their skin.
As more extensive research occurs we may gain more information about COVID-19 and animals, and may need to adjust our work arrangements accordingly. For now we recommend practicing social and physical distance and keeping yourself updated with reliable news resources.