No evidence that pets can transmit coronavirus, MU College of Veterinary Medicine says

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — There’s no need to be afraid of your pets when it comes to coronavirus, cording to the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Despite there being very limited evidence of people transmitting the virus to animals, there is no evidence to suggest pets and livestock can transmit the virus to people.

“There’s no evidence whatsoever that pets can give coronavirus to people. In the world, there have been well over a million people, close to two million people that have had coronavirus so far and in the entire world, there have only been a handful of pets, less than a handful of pets, that have tested positive and of those only one has had any illness,” said Dr. Leah Cohn, Professor of Veterinary Medicine at MU.

This advice comes after a tiger at New York’s Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19, possibly contracting it from a zookeeper. It’s the first known coronavirus infection in an animal in the U.S. or a tiger anywhere.

RELATED: A tiger tested positive for COVID-19, but what does that mean for pets?

“There’s an awful lot that we are still learning about the virus. We have not seen a rise in respiratory diseases or infections in dogs and cats, which is an encouraging sign that the virus is not making our pets sick,”

With emerging zoonotic viruses, Dr. Cohn says that people are naturally concerned about the health of their furry friends.

“With various pandemics in the past, people have been concerned. The same thing happened with avian influenza in the late 2000’s in Europe, not so much here, but it was reported at one point that cats could potentially be infected and there were people that got rid of their cats as a result of that, so it is human nature to let fear overtake you sometimes and not necessarily wait for the science, but right now there’s absolutely no reason for anyone to be afraid of their pets,” she said.  

People should still practice good hygiene when dealing with animals. Dr. Cohn advises people to wash their hands before and after handling pets or livestock.

You can find more information from the University of Missouri’s Veterinary Health Center here.

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