Added to the tension surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19, you may have read USA Today or seen CNN and learned about the pup in Hong Kong who tested “weak positive” for the dreaded virus.
Immediately, pet owners in Hong Kong mimicked those in Wuhan where the virus began and many put masks on their dogs.
But as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) reminded us in their bulletin of February 18th:
The WHO, FAO, and CDC indicate that pets and other domestic animals are not considered at risk for contacting COVID-19 or transmitting the virus that causes COVID-19 (also known as 2019-nCoV).
So what is going on with this Hong Kong pup who has gone, excuse me, viral?
“There are almost no known zoonotic diseases,” explains Don Montes, LVT, owner of AmbuVet. “Zoonotic means a disease that can go from one species to another. That is why my staff and I have no concerns about our own health when we work directly with ill pets.”
Think about it. The kennel hand who cleans up after a pup with parvo does not contract the disease. And did your dog ever start sneezing when you had a cold, even if you sneezed directly on him?
So what is going on here?
When that hypothetical first COVID-19 virus in Huang, China jumped from a pig at a market to a human it had mutated and was thus able to infect Patient #1. But because of this mutation, COVID-19 cannot go backward and infect pigs again, and certainly not dogs who are not even remotely related to pigs.
But, we don’t live in a sterile environment. Certainly, the pup in Hong Kong doesn't. That is why we mammals have a chain of defenses against disease, starting with our nasal & oral mucosa which trap viruses and bacteria before they get into our bodies to do harm.
And most likely, this is exactly what was going on with the Hong Kong Pup. The air he was breathing included COVID-19 and his “equal opportunity” mucosa trapped it along with any other viruses and bacteria.
So, the presence of the virus in Hong Kong pup’s nasal passages, in absence of his displaying any symptoms, indicates the virus was in the surrounding air, not that he has the disease.
If you are tense about the coronavirus situation – and who isn’t – don’t worry about your pup. Actually, a nice long walk with them might be the best thing to bring down your own tension!
And if your pup needs walks on a regular, or even occasional, basis and you aren’t home to do them, that’s what Brooklyn Bark is for. Click on Barkley below and find out how we can help you.