What’s the take-home?
- SARS-CoV-2 infection in domestic animals appears to be rare.
- There is currently no evidence that animals can transmit SARS-CoV-2 to humans, either through natural infection or fomite transmission. Thus far, pet fur has not been found to act as a fomite for SARS-CoV-2 transmission to humans. Human-to-human transmission is much more likely.
- Clinical disease may occur in infected cats, but the occurrence in other species is undetermined. Evidence of differences in susceptibility among animal species is currently insufficient.
- When communicating with owners, veterinary professionals are advised to stress the importance of the human-animal bond. Contact with pets is physiologically and emotionally beneficial when humans are experiencing stress, as with the current pandemic.
- When dealing with patients and clients, veterinary staff should use appropriate precautions, such as minimizing the presence of pet owners in the facility, disinfecting pet carriers and using appropriate protective equipment when interacting with pets, particularly those from a COVID-19–positive household.