What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses also known as CoVs are a large family of viruses (a biological infectious agent that multiply within the cell they infect) that cause several diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe illness such as respiratory syndrome (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV), etc. Recently, a novel coronavirus (nCoV or COVID-19) strain was reported that has not been previously identified in humans.
What are the natural reservoirs of Coronaviruses?
The animals are natural reservoirs of coronaviruses that means they stay there without harming the hots animals. However, the coronaviruses can also transmit between animals and people i.e. zoonotic. Previous studies have shown that bats are natural reservoirs of viruses that are genetically similar to that of SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV (most pathogenic human coronaviruses). Furthermore, bats are also considered to be the natural host of nCoV coronavirus. It has been suspected that once the virus gets an opportunity to spill over from its natural reservoirs (probably through an intermediate animal) they transmit to humans.
What is nCoV-2019 or covid-19?
nCoV-2019 also known as Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can spread from one person to another person. The disease is caused by a virus namely COVID-19, a novel coronavirus that was first reported during an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The common sign and symptoms of COVID-19 infection include fever, cough, breathing difficulties (shortness of breath) and respiratory problems. In more severe cases, prolonged infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, sepsis, multi-organ failure, and even death. To date there is no treatment available to cure the disease. Most of the treatment available is the supportive care that helps the infected person to breathe. The standard recommendations are to stop the spread of the infection spread through intermittent and regular hand washing, covering the mouth and nose with tissue or hand when coughing and sneezing, meticulously cooking, stop the use of uncooked meat and eggs. Furthermore, the advisory also put in the force to avoid close contact with the person showing any of the symptoms.
How does COVID-19 spread?
Most of the coronaviruses emerged from animal sources and through human it spread from one person to another hence COVID-19 also presumed to be the same. The COVID-19 is spread from one infected person to another person who is in close contact (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced once an infected person coughs or sneezes. Besides this, the virus can also be transmitted by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it.
What is canine coronavirus disease?
Canine is a common term used to relate to or resemble a dog or dogs. Canine coronavirus disease is commonly known as CCoV. The virus is belonging to the Coronaviridae family. CCoV does not infect humans and causes gastrointestinal problems as opposed to respiratory disease in human. Contrary to human SARS-CoV-2 that causes the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Canine coronavirus mainly causes intestinal infection in dogs, most notably in puppies. The coronavirus that caused it is short-lived and completely different than the human COVID-19 virus. As a result of CCoV infection,considerable abdominal discomfort for a few days was reported in infected dogs.
How is canine coronavirus transmitted?
In majority of cases the canine coronavirus transmitted or contracted when a dog come in oral contact with infected fecal material. The infection can also be spread by using the utensils such as eating from contaminated food bowls or by a direct contact with an infected dog.
What are the signs of canine coronavirus?
The common sign and symptoms of corona infection in dogs are fewer and only appear in few cases particularly in young puppies. The most common symptom is diarrhea associated with tiredness, fatigue and reduced appetite. The stool is loose, orange in color and foul in odor. Sometimes blood and mucus also noted in the stool.
Is there any specific treatment?
There is no specific report about the treatment for canine coronavirus. Usually, vet prescribed antibiotics that are not meant for virus rather than meant for secondary bacterial infections. However, vaccines for canine coronavirus is available. Vaccines are generally not prescribed for all and usually based on risk assessment. This vaccine only works for CCoV types of coronavirus and not effective against COVID-19.
Can COVID-19 infected person passes the coronavirus to pets?
The COVID-19 virus mainly spreads from one infected person to another who is in close contact (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced by an infected person or through touching an infected surface that has the virus on it. To date, there is no known report that showed the virus transmission from human to pet i.e. cat, dog, and other animals. However, there is a report from Hong Kong that a dog had been reported to carry a small number of virus particles. Despite this, the dog did not show any clinical symptoms of the COVID-19 disease. The dog has later died after two days in the quarantine facility. However, the autopsy was not allowed by the dog owner, the exact cause of death remains unknown. It has been suggested that the cause of death was probably due to other co-morbidities. Recently the second case in Hong Kong was reported in which another German shepherd dog was found to be positive for COVID-19. The dog was in close contact with the infected owner and showed a high viral load in the nose. However, as reported earlier the dog was asymptomatic and did not show any sign of illness. The dog was placed in quarantine and the case supposed to be a case
of human-to-animal transmission. In this situation, it is hard to tell anything, and future studies are warranted to understand the virus nature and its potential to infect animals.
Is it necessary to test the pets of people with confirmed cases of COVID-19?
At this moment it is not the priority to test the pet for COVID-19. However, it is necessary to keep the pet away from infected individuals as well as the pets of infected individuals from other healthy individual. Pets are also required to keep in quarantine if any of the people in the family gets positive for COVID-19. At the same time, it is highly advisable to understand that pets and dogs are not the source of infections, therefore, do not abandoned them.
Can pets serve as a reservoir of the virus and pass it back to us?
The answer is yes. At this moment we really do not know anything about the nature of COVID-19. If pet becomes infected or anyone in the family infected with COVID-19, there is the possibility of pets can become infected. We do not know that they can serve as a reservoir and can spread the disease to others. In this situation, it is necessary to deal with our pet in the same way we are dealing with humans i.e. need to keep them at home and keep them away from the infected individuals. If we know that the pet came in contact with the infected individual, we’d need to deal with them the same way we’re dealing with human cases i.e. need to visit a vet hospital, quarantine them and keep them in isolation.
Would we quarantine our pets too?
The answer is the same as for humans. If your pet is in contact with an infected person, it can spread the virus to others. At present the best way to fight the disease is to stay away from people and if you meet an infected person or suspect you need to quarantine at a hospital or a shelter. Similar efforts should be taken for quarantine your dog or cat, preferably in a home or pet day-care. Since your pet wasn’t sick due to COVID-19, you still need to limit their contact by keeping them at home.
What should we do to protect our pets?
The first and foremost thing under COVID-19 crisis does not leave your pet abandoned. They are part of your family and you need to do the same as per the other family members. It is necessary that you need to keep your pets as an active member in coronavirus preparedness planning. Stay at home and in case if you are feeling sick and display corona symptoms stay in quarantine keep your pet away from you ask someone else to feed your pet. Keep extra pet food and ask your neighbors for any
feeding, walking, or medications as needed by your pet’s need.
Please review latest update on Coronavirus by CDC for pets,