Northamptonshire's animal lovers do not need to social distance from their pets

County vets back up WHO advice there is no evidence cats and dogs can catch Covid-19 bug

By Kevin Nicholls
Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 2:45 pm

Local vets want to reassure Northamptonshire's animal lovers there is no need for social distancing when it comes to their pets.

Reports of a dog dying in Hong Kong following a positive test for Covid-19 sparked a flurry of calls from anxious owners to practices across the county.

But Laura Rowland, from White Cross Vets in Northampton, said: “Cat and dog owners are obviously concerned and we have been answering lots of questions about it.

Dogs are safe from the Covid-19 bug, say world health officials

“The veterinary industry is researching the risks of Covid-19 to dogs and cats but, so far, there is no evidence they can fall ill to the disease.

"Instead, experts have suggested the dog’s test in Hong Kong could have been inaccurate or contaminated by its owner, who was suffering with coronavirus. He was also a senior dog and his cause of death has not been reported.

“It’s also worth remembering that viruses hijack cells by getting into certain cell receptors, but domestic pets have different receptors to those found in humans. This means most viruses that are contagious in humans, can't transfer into pets. The World Health Organisation has also said they have found no evidence that pets can be infected by it.

“In most cases pets can stay with their owners who are showing coronavirus symptoms and self-isolating, although it’s advisable to restrict contact with pets until more is known about the possibility of human to pet transmission.

The World Health Organization says pets do not spread Covid-19

"In instances where a pet requires veterinary attention during this time, we’d suggest speaking to your vet to discuss the options because most will have a plan in place for these situations and should be able to help.”

The White Cross practice at Weston Favell — part of the Independent Vetcare group — and other vets across the county are open only for emergencies during the coronavirus lockdown.

Laura added: “It’s worth taking precautions to ensure pets stay healthy throughout the crisis.

"Owners should also maintain good hygiene practices, including thoroughly washing hands, after handling or feeding pets, which is also a key driver in reducing the spread of coronavirus."

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