Can Your Pet Get COVID-19?

NEW YORK (AP) – Can your pet contract COVID-19?

Yes, pets and other animals can contract the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but health officials say the risk of them passing it on to humans is low.

Dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, otters, hyenas, and white-tailed deer are among the animals that test positive, in most cases after contracting it from infected people.

While you don’t have to worry much about getting COVID-19 from your pets, they should be concerned about getting it from you. People with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should avoid contact with pets, farm animals and wildlife, as well as other people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A passenger grabs a free mask before entering the security checkpoint at Dallas Love Field.

“If you don’t get close to another person because you are sick or could be exposed, don’t get close to another animal,” says Dr. Scott Weese of the Ontario Veterinary College.

Not all infected animals get sick, and serious illness is extremely rare. Pets that show symptoms usually get mildly ill, according to the CDC.

Some zoos in the United States and elsewhere have vaccinated big cats, primates and other animals that are at risk of contracting the virus through contact with people.

Cars line up for COVID-19 testing on the Dallas College Mountain View campus on December 22.
The Target Cold and Cough Alley on Abrams Road in Dallas on Monday, January 10, 2022.

This particular coronavirus most likely passed from animals to humans in the first place, triggering a pandemic because the virus spreads so easily between people. But it is not easily transmitted from animals to humans. According to Weese, minks are the only animals known to have caught the virus from humans and spread it.

Three countries in northern Europe have recorded cases of the virus spreading from humans to mink in mink farms. The virus circulated among animals before being transmitted to farm workers.

The ease with which animals can contract and spread the virus can change with different variations, and the best way to stop the virus from spreading among animals is to control it among humans, Weese says.

By EMMA H. TOBIN, The Associated Press

Deputy principal Catherine Bennett (left) and principal Kristin Strickland squirted disinfectant into students' hands as they arrived for the first day of school at Arapaho Classical Magnet in the Richardson School District in August.  Richardson ISD has seen some of the ugliest fights in North Texas over his tenure as a mask.
Drivers queuing for COVID-19 tests meandered around the parking lot at Ellis Davis Field House in Dallas on Thursday, January 6, 2022.