With a ratio of hundreds of thousands to three, the amount of pets that have been tested for the coronavirus pales to that of humans since research says there is little evidence that the virus can be contracted by our companion animals. Still, three cases isn’t zero, pushing some to wonder whether pets should be tested for the coronavirus as well.
Coronavirus Tests For Pets?
Just last week, a cat in Belgium tested positive for the coronavirus, which supposedly gave it diarrhea, vomiting and difficulty in breathing. The same day, a dog from Hong Kong was confirmed to indeed have been infected by the virus after previously receiving a “weak positive” diagnosis of it. The dog unfortunately died. A third dog also tested positive for the virus this month.
But despite these slowly rising cases, pets aren’t given coronavirus tests of their own, with the CDC reiterating that our pets pose little risk to us.
“CDC does not have evidence that pets can spread COVID-19, and there’s no reason to think pets might be a source of infection based on the information we have at this time,” Casey Barton Behravesh, director of the agency’s One Health Office in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, told Science.
But that’s not stopping veterinarians and animal experts from all over want information, especially now that there are definite cases of the coronavirus infecting animals. The problem, however, is that human tests are in short supply. And while there are now several labs that have developed COVID-19 tests for pets, none has begun to administer it on a broader level.
In fact, the USDA even released a FAQ that cautioned against this, saying that “at this time, testing for companion animals will only be done if animal and public health officials agree testing should occur due to a link to a known human case of COVID-19.”
Some also said that there’s no need to cause unnecessary worry for pets and people in general. However, whether this decision to set aside pet testing for now is a good idea remains to be seen.