Coronavirus. Can our Dogs and Cats infect us?

Animal welfare associations fear a wave of abandonment. Scientists are unanimous, however: our pets cannot transmit coronavirus to us biologically.

Can our dogs and cats transmit the Covid-19 to us? Even before individuals asked the question, the General Directorate of Food (DGA) had questioned the National Health Security Agency (ANSES). Published on March 11, the Agency’s opinion joins the declarations of the World Organization for Animal Health: to date, there is no evidence to suggest that pets play a role in the spread of SARS-CoV -2.

What about the case of the dog tested positive in February in Hong Kong? This Pomeranian Loulou died at the start of the week. “The death of this dog is not linked to the virus,” said Gilles Salvat, deputy director-general of the ANSES research and reference center. “He was 17 years old, he suffered from heart and kidney failure and, the day before his death, the last tests carried out clearly demonstrated that he had not developed any antibody and that he no longer harbored the virus.” Translation: this little dog was not infected. Nor even a healthy carrier.

No biological transmission

If previous screening tests had revealed the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the explanation is simple: “His owner was infected with the virus and the dog was living in a highly contaminated environment,” said Gilles Salvat. “But even under these conditions, the samples turned out to be weakly positive.”

n the state, this case only demonstrates that the virus can survive a few days on the mucous membranes of a dog but without multiplying there. And that a person infected with Covid-19 cannot, a priori, contaminate their animal.

Teacher-researcher in the epidemiological service of the Alfort Veterinary School, Barbara Dufour confirms: “Viruses do not cross interspecies barriers in a jiffy. Special receptors are needed to allow the entry of a given virus into An organism. There have been feline and canine coronaviruses for a long time. They are alpha-type and not transmissible to humans. However, Covid-19 is a beta coronavirus for which our pets are not equipped with specific receptors. “

“So they can’t spread the virus.” “The concern of animal owners is perfectly unjustified,” continues the infectious disease specialist. The only way for a dog or a cat to infect someone is for an infected person to sneeze or gag in the immediate vicinity of the animal and it immediately rubs against the face of another healthy person. “A scenario in which the animal would play the same role as any contaminated medium.

Classic hygiene

Hence the need to observe basic hygiene instructions. “They are not unique to the epidemic,” said Professor Dufour. Never get your animal licked on the face and never sleep with your dog, Covid-19 or not. “”

Last clarification: we do not disinfect, from head to toe, our best friend when we return from a ride, but, on the other hand, we absolutely wash our hands after playing with him or having stroked him. Caresses to be lavished without moderation: in this period of confinement, our animals remain our best allies to reduce stress.

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