Cat and dog owners infected with coronavirus ‘recommended to isolate from pets’

Dog and cat owners with coronavirus have been recommended to stay away from their pets to avoid transmission by a professor.

A new study suggests pets can catch the killer virus and can even come down with symptoms.

Researchers in Canada started investigating when several pets were reported to have respiratory symptoms at the same time their owner was suffering from the virus.

As part of the research, which was unveiled at the ESCMID Conference on Coronavirus Disease, blood works were taken from pets living with symptomatic or infected people during a two-week period.

It discovered that a "substantial proportion of pets” inhabiting Covid-19 positive households had antibodies for the strain.

Professor Dorothee Bienzle, co-author of the study said infected people should isolate from animals as well as humans.

In the study, people who owned a cat, dog, and in one case a ferret and had a diagnosis of Covid-19 were invited to have their pet swabbed.

If humans were outside the two-week window of suspected infectiousness, antibody testing was offered which looked for recent or past infection.

"There is sufficient evidence from multiple studies, including ours, to recommend that SARS-CoV-2 infected persons should isolate from people and animals," Prof Bienzle said.

"These preliminary results suggest that a substantial proportion of pets in households of persons with Covid-19 become infected."

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"All cats with an indeterminate PCR or positive antibody results were reported to have had respiratory and/or other illness by their owners around the time of the owner's Covid-19 infection.

"Two (20%) of dogs had positive antibody results, indicating past infection, and one of these was reported to have had an episode of respiratory disease."

The research was written up after swabs from 18 dogs, 17 cats and one ferret were collected. Out of the animals none of them except one cat were currently infectious.

The samples were then compared to a control group made up of blood taken from animals before December 2019.

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