I have been asked this question a few times, and the current understanding at the time of writing is that no, there is no evidence that pets can give you COVID-19.
It is true that both dogs and cats have diseases that are caused by a type of coronavirus. But these are alpha-coronaviruses, and are infections of the gut. The new virus from Wuhan in China currently causing the COVID-19 outbreak, is an infection of the respiratory system, and a beta-coronavirus.
So, if you have been worrying about whether or not you are at risk of developing COVID-19 from your pet, please set your mind to rest.
There is excellent advice on the NHS and World Health Organisation websites about how healthy people can protect themselves from the risk of infection from other people. It also has advice for people who are feeling unwell and how they should act. Please do not rely on facebook chatter – you have no idea what the qualifications of the people offering advice might be.
Medical preventative advice centres on regular hand-washing, catching your sneezes in a tissue, which you discard after a single use and keeping a slight distance of one meter from people with a cough or cold.
If you are unlucky enough to need to self-isolate – our thoughts are with you. Not an easy time, I imagine.
If you are a self-isolated pet owner, and you need assistance with your pet’s health, please call us and ask for support. We would not encourage you to come down to the clinic, but we can discuss any problems you have with your pet on the phone, or via email. Photos and videos are helpful if we are conducting a consultation in this way.
Please be aware that online consultations like this will be chargeable, just as a face to face one would be.
If you are unable to leave the home, and your pet needs some medication – just call us. Most medications can be posted or hand delivered on request, subject to a postage and packaging fee, as you are experiencing extraordinary circumstances. You will be out and about again in just fourteen days, hopefully, and things will return to normal then.