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Health

Can Your Pet Get Coronavirus?

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COVID-19 has many people concerned about the health and safety of their loved ones. For some people, that includes their pets. One question is whether the virus can be passed on to their dog or cat or if they can pass the virus to humans.

"Right now we don't have a lot of evidence that they can pick up the virus. We have had a couple of cases [worldwide] that have come up, test positive, so they've found virus but we don't know that it's caused infection in these guys because none of them have gotten sick. And there's been no cases of pets giving the virus to their owners. It's most likely only ever going to be the other way around," Cheyenne Animal Shelter Medical Director Dr. Tasha Winsch said.

According to Winsch, cats are the most likely to pick up the virus because they have similar receptors to humans.

Pets can also likely transmit the virus even if they don't have it.

"Just like other surfaces such as doorknobs and countertops, they could potentially carry it on them. So our recommendation, as veterinarians, is your pets probably shouldn't be interacting with anybody outside the family so that they won't serve as that risk factor," Winsch said.

She also recommends that if someone becomes ill, they limit contact with their pets and allow another family member to care for them.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Ivy Engel, at iengel@uwyo.edu.

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