Can your dog or cat get coronavirus? Here's what veterinarian says about pets and COVID-19

Dustin Dorsey Image
Friday, March 6, 2020
EMBED <>More Videos

After a positive case of coronavirus in a dog in Hong Kong got people worried about their pets here, we spoke with a veterinarian about the virus in animals who told us COVID-19 is not a strain that is found in pets at this time.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- As we continue to learn more about the coronavirus, the focus now shifts to people and their pets as there is a growing concern of transmission between animals and humans.

Health officials in Hong Kong confirmed Thursday that a dog has been placed under quarantine after a "weak-positive" result came back after a Coronavirus test.

However, the strain of coronavirus is not the COVID-19 strain that is spreading amongst humans across the world.

LIVE UPDATES: Latest on coronavirus in US, around the world

"Coronavirus itself has been around forever," Oakridge Veterinary Clinic Veterinarian Dr. Nell Griscom said. "Dogs get it, cats get it, but they are different varieties of coronavirus. As far as we know, the COVID-19 is not contagious to dogs and people can't get it from their dogs or give it to their dogs or cats."

While the strain may have not been the same, health officials believe that the positive test on the dog came in a different way.

This was explained today on ABC7's Midday Live.

RELATED: Dr. Alok Patel answers your questions about the Coronavirus

"In Hong Kong what we suspect happened was that the dog was carrying the virus on the dog's fur," UCSF Dr. Alok Patel said. "It's almost like a furry door knob. It doesn't mean the dog was infected, it just means the dog's body acted as a surface."

Dr. Griscom agrees and offers advice to pet owners who test positive for COVID-19.

"Yes, potentially it could spread through touch," Dr. Griscom said. "This is why when people are quarantined, they should also quarantine their pets with them or they should have someone else take care of their pets so that there is no possibility of the virus physically being on the pet and someone else getting it from the pet."

RELATED: Coronavirus outbreak: Starbucks announces a pause on reusable personal cups

As is the case with the coronavirus strain COVID-19 with humans, health officials are still learning about the virus and the impact on animals.

However, Dr. Griscom still wants one thing to be clear for those owners worried about their furry friends.

"The CDC and the AVMA, the American Veterinary Medical Association, is still saying that there is no real evidence of it being transmissible to domestic animals," Dr. Griscom said.

Dr. Griscom adds that pet owners still have no reason to panic just yet, but good hygenie practices in public are still advised.