As the world continues to come to grips with COVID-19, we now turn our attention to a previously-overlooked battlefront - our beloved pets.
Before you start looking at your favorite furry friend with suspicion, understand that our pets are actually in danger from us - not the other way around. There has already been a case of a tiger at the Bronx zoo testing positive for COVID-19, and in general, it seems that cats and ferrets are most likely to be infected with COVID-19 by humans. Current data suggests that dogs are a lot less susceptible, but still not immune.
Researchers have been extrapolating based on patterns from other viral outbreaks, such as the H1N1 "swine flu" where humans infected a number of animals - usually within their own households.
It must be noted that you should NOT be trying to get rid of your pets and your pets cannot transmit the virus to you. Just take the same precautions that you would with anyone else in your house:
- Practice good hygiene and limit your own potential for exposure by staying home unless absolutely necessary.
- If you or someone in your house is showing symptoms of COVID-19, have them avoid contact with pets (and people, obviously).
- If you must be with your pet and/or have a service animal that you rely on, wear a mask so that you're limiting the emission of microdroplets from your mouth/nose.
- If your pet is showing symptoms of COVID-19 but you aren't, it could mean that you are just asymptomatic. Consult a healthcare professional immediately.