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Can animals catch Coronavirus (Covid-19)?

In July 2020, the government announced a cat in the UK has been diagnosed with Coronavirus for the first time. Find out more about how we can protect ourselves and our animals from the current pandemic.

Updated 3 August 2020  | 5 min read

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Can pets catch Coronavirus?

Yes - there have been a couple of cases where pets have tested positive for the virus. The first case of a cat catching Coronavirus in the UK was confirmed by the Animal and Plant Health Agency on the 22nd July 2020. 

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has stated that  there’s no evidence to suggest that pets are able to transmit the virus to people. 

What does this mean for pet owners?

You don’t need to worry about your pet contracting Coronavirus. The chances of animals getting it are low and it usually doesn’t affect them much.

If you’re a pet owner who has symptoms of Coronavirus, avoid contact with your pets and other members of your household as much as possible. 

Are there any Coronavirus symptoms in pets?

Fortunately pets appear unaffected by the current pandemic and show no to very few symptoms. Even if animals do get the virus, it doesn’t appear to be lethal in the same way it can be for humans.

However, if your pet becomes visibly unwell then it is still recommended that you should contact the nearest vet to find out what is causing their illness.

Can pets carry Coronavirus on their fur?

Animals can spread the virus through their fur, as with any surface. If a human with Coronarivus touches, sneezes or coughs on a cat or dog, the virus can contaminate their fur. 

It is recommended that you do the following to minimise the risk of transmitting the virus:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after touching an animal
  • Avoid close contact with pets from other households and stray animals as you don’t know where they’ve been

Will pet insurance cover my pet if they get Coronavirus?

Yes, unless your policy states otherwise. 

Pet insurers have also put plans in place to support pet owners who make a claim during the pandemic. 

As access to vet surgeries is limited, insurance companies  are partnering with vets to make sure your pets receive the treatment they need. 

What happens to your pet if you are hospitalised with Coronavirus?

If you are hospitalised with Coronavirus you will need someone to take care of your pet while you’re away. 

Depending on the level of pet insurance you have, your insurance might cover boarding fees. For example, some policies will pay up to £15 per day for either boarding or someone to look after your pet if you’re hospitalised for four or more days. 

Check with your insurer what is and isn’t covered by your policy. If your pet isn’t covered, then a friend or family member is the next best option. 

Is there a Coronavirus vaccine for pets?

No, there’s no vaccine available yet for either pets or humans. If you think your pet has Coronavirus call your vet for advice – don’t take them to the surgery.

How can I prevent my family and pets catching Coronavirus?

It is recommended that families continue to follow social distancing rules, including the use of face coverings while in public. If you or a family member has any symptoms of coronavirus, they must self isolate for 14 days.

Can I take my dog out for a walk if I have Coronavirus?

No. If you’ve been diagnosed with coronavirus, it’s recommended that you don’t leave your home for any reason - that includes walking your dog. If you have a garden, you could play with your dog in it for exercise. 

Getting a pet during lockdown

Think carefully before buying a new pet during lockdown. Online searches for puppies have increased by 166% during lockdown [1], due to the extra time people have had at home. This has caused dog prices to increase considerably, and the cost of insurance has climbed too. 

To find out more answers to frequently asked questions about coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. 

[1]Propellernet research sourced by Dogs Trust. Based on Google searches for “buy a puppy” from week commencing 22nd March 2020 compared to week commencing 12th July 2020.

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