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The pet dog of an infected patient tested ‘weakly positive’ for COVID-19 in Hong Kong, but WSAVA and other governmental health organizations say standard precautions are sufficient.
Following reports over the weekend that a dog in Hong Kong tested "weakly positive" for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) updated its guidance document, “The New Coronavirus and Companion Animals—Advice for WSAVA Members.”
According to a statement on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) website, the dog is showing no clinical signs of COVID-19 but will remain quarantined until further testing produces negative results. It’s possible that the initial result was due to “environmental contamination of the dog’s mouth and nose.”
Like WSAVA, the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the AFCD says there is no evidence that “pet animals can be infected with COVID-19 virus or can be a source of infection to people,” according to the statement.
For pet owners in areas where human cases have been identified, WSAVA’s advice is to continue take standard precautions: Wash your hands before and after interacting with your pet and, if you are sick, wear a face mask when around them.
The CDC provides this advice for pet owners: “You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.”