Can pets be vectors of the coronavirus?

Are pets in danger because of the SARS-CoV-2 virus? In an opinion, ANSES indicates that there is no evidence that animals play a role in the spread of Covid-19 disease.

Are pets at risk of transmitting the new coronavirus? The issue was addressed by the National Food Safety Agency in a notice issued on March 9, 2020. “There is no evidence that pets and farm animals play a role in the spread of the SARS-CoV- virus. 2 causing this disease, ”says ANSES.

Can dogs, cats and other pets carry the virus? According to the agency’s expertise, “no virus belonging to the SARS-CoV-2 (Sarbecovirus) subgroup has been detected in domestic animals (livestock and companion animals)”.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus binds to a particular receptor, which is identified in certain domestic animal species: nevertheless ANSES stresses that the presence of this receptor is not enough for animals to be infected. This is explained by the fact that the virus not only uses the receptor, but also other elements of the cell, to replicate itself.


Can a human carrier of this coronavirus transmit it to a domestic animal? Even if ANSES recalls that the SARS-CoV-2 virus appears to be of animal origin, the current context and the information available to experts tend to show that the passage of this virus “from human beings to another species animal (including domestic) seems currently unlikely ”. Until proven otherwise, cats, dogs, rabbits and other pets are therefore not in danger.

In Hong Kong, the dog of a woman with coronavirus tested positive for the disease in late February, but did not show symptoms. The animal has been placed in quarantine. ANSES returns to this incident, explaining that it was the genome of the virus that was detected in the dog’s nasal and oral cavities. The agency specifies that “the detection of the genome is not sufficient evidence to conclude that the animal is infected” and that this specific case should be the subject of further analysis: he could simply have carried the virus as can do it on a surface (metro bar, smartphone, etc.).

However, do not ignore your animals: plan a little more food in the event of a shortage is a healthy gesture. Likewise, if the situation changes regarding the transmission of the virus, quarantine processes can be put in place in veterinary clinics, as reminded by Dr. Shelley Rankin, veterinary microbiologist at Science magazine.

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