Concerns pertaining to the Wuhan Coronavirus seizes to fade away. After affecting lakhs of people across the globe, the deadly virus has started showing up in animals too. Hong Kong has reported two cases of suspected human-to-animal transmission of the Coronavirus, but there is no evidence that pet animals can get ill from the virus or transmit it to people.
According to reports, a 2-year-old German Shepherd and a 17-year-old Pomeranian in Hong Kong have been suspected of contracting the coronavirus from their infected owners.
The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said that a German shepherd tested positive for the virus in Pok Fu Lam, a residential area on the west coast of Hong Kong Island. It’s the second dog in Hong Kong to test Coronavirus positive.
“No positive results were obtained from the mixed-breed dog and neither dog has shown any signs of disease,” it said. “The department will continue to closely monitor both dogs and conduct repeated tests on the animals.”
Officials sent both the German shepherd and another dog from the same residence to a quarantine facility at the Hong Kong Port of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
This came after an elderly 17-year-old Pomeranian, which had tested “weak positive” during repeated tests for the virus, died two days after it was released from quarantine disease-free.
Some animal-welfare experts had suggested the Pomeranian’s death could have been caused by the stress of being quarantined and separated from its owner, while others had said that it might have been due to its age. “The dog likely died from causes other than Covid-19 as it had never displayed any clinical signs of illness,” the College for Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said in a post on its website.
The AFCD, however, maintained that the true cause of the death could not be ascertained as the dog’s owner, who recently recovered from a coronavirus infection, wasn’t willing to allow an autopsy.
The World Organisation for Animal Health has warned owners that though there is no evidence of pets transmitting the virus to humans, however, because, animals and people can sometimes share diseases, it is still recommended that people who are sick with Covid-19, limit their contact with the pet and other animals until more information is known about the virus.
In case a pet owner is asked to go into quarantine or becomes ill due to the Wuhan coronavirus, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:
- Maintain separation and avoid direct contact with pets and other animals, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. Try to make alternative arrangements for someone to look after pets in case you become ill.
- 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 face mask.
Meanwhile, the AFCD said it “strongly advises” that mammalian pets including dogs and cats from households where people are infected with Covid-19 or those who have had close contact with others infected persons, should be quarantined in government facilities.