China suffered a serious health alert for weeks with this new coronavirus which has already killed several people. There is still a lot unknown about this virus and one of the concerns is whether your dog or cat can have / transmit this new disease.
On January 9, the first death in Asia was confirmed by a new type of coronavirus, a kind of pneumonia that has already claimed the lives of 132 people in China. In addition, the coronavirus has spread to other countries, including France, Germany and the United States. And one of the unknowns still to be resolved is its true origin.
Can my dog or cat suffer from coronavirus?
At first, it was thought that the origin came from the consumption of reptile meat and prohibited its sale. Now they think it may have come from wild animals. One of the questions that every pet owner has is: Can my dog have this Chinese coronavirus? And my cat? Or can they be the cause?
There are coronaviruses in dogs and also coronaviruses in cats. Now, “this new human strain in China has nothing to do with what we know in dogs and cats,” says veterinarian Ana Martínez. In other words, “the coronavirus in dogs could only spread between them. Likewise for the coronavirus, ”says Martínez.
This is the premise that must be made clear: “Dogs can only be infected with coronaviruses in those of the same species, in dogs. And it happens in exactly the same way with cats “, they can only spread between them. In fact, “the strains can be different at any time, they can be mutations from the previous ones”, continues veterinarian Ana Martínez.
Coronavirus in dogs
And what do we know about coronavirus in dogs? Most of the cases have their origin in the fact that the dog ate feces carrying the virus. As for the symptoms, they may not show them and in the rare cases where they are detected by a sudden onset of diarrhea, accompanied by dizziness and a lack of appetite.
Dogs’ diarrhea may contain blood or mucus, and if the infection occurs while the animal is suffering from another disease, such as the known parvovirus, it will make it more severe. Of course, these symptoms could indicate other problems, so before any abnormality in your dog, consult your trusted veterinarian.
Coronavirus in cats
On the other hand, coronavirus infection in cats is very common and the most common strains are typical of the species, so they cannot infect humans either. The way a cat can suffer from this virus is the same as that of a dog: through carrier feces. In addition, stray cats that live in colonies are between 80 and 100% more likely to contract coronavirus infections.
The coronavirus in cats usually mutates indoors, leading to a serious condition known as infectious peritonitis in cats. Its symptoms, unlike those of dogs, are therefore much more variable: loss of appetite or weight; fever and diarrhea, even sneezing or difficulty breathing.