NewsPets often get infected from the owner

Pets often get infected from the owner

At home infected with Corona, cuddling with a dog or cat often helps as a consolation. Not a good idea, say women scientists. Many animals become infected with Corona as a result.

Basel – masters and mistresses take note: dogs and especially cats are apparently more likely to be infected with their owners infected with Corona than previous data would suggest.

This is the result of two studies that will be presented at the European Congress for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Basel. The congress will take place online from July 9th to 12th.

The symptoms in the infected animals ranged from weakness and appetite to cough, runny nose, breathing problems and diarrhea, reported veterinarian Dorothee Bienzle from the Canadian University in Guelph. Cats that spend a lot of time with their owners and sleep on their beds are particularly susceptible to the virus. “Cats more often sleep close to the face of their owners, which exposes them to more infection,” said a congress announcement.

Bienzle and colleagues tested 48 cats and 54 dogs from 77 households in which someone had been infected with the corona virus. They found antibodies in 67 percent of the cats and 43 percent of the dogs, which indicates a previous infection. 20 percent of the dogs would have had symptoms, 27 percent of the cats. In most cases, the disease passed away without any problems.

In a similar study with 150 dogs and cats each from almost 200 infected households in the Netherlands, a PCR or antibody test produced a positive result in around every fifth animal. It was used to detect current and past infections. The Canadians tested animals from a shelter and stray cats as controls. For them, the positive rate was significantly lower. Both study directors conclude from this and from earlier studies that the animals become infected from their owners.

The data have not yet appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, but have been reviewed by congress scientists.

“If you have Covid-19, you should avoid contact with your dog or cat, as you should with humans,” the veterinarian Els Broens from the University of Utrecht is quoted in the press release of the congress. The main concern is not the health of the animals. You would have had no or only mild symptoms of Covid-19.

“The main concern is the potential risk that the pets become a reservoir of the virus and the virus could get back into the population through them.” So far, however, no transmission of the virus from a pet to an owner has been proven, she said. Although animals from households with an infected person were infected relatively often in the study, it seems unlikely that they play a role in the pandemic.

“It is clear that these animals pick up the pathogen from humans and apparently have no further epidemiological significance,” said the President of the Friedrich Loeffler Institute, Thomas Mettenleiter, of the German Press Agency with a view to domestic animals. Corona cases have been reportable since summer 2020. According to Mettenleiter, these have been isolated cases so far: According to the FLI, there are seven reports on cats and two on dogs, which can each refer to more than one animal.

Experts assume that a wide range of animal species can be infected with Sars-CoV-2. Deaths among zoo animals such as lions have also become known. A high number of infections affected minks in fur farming, for example in Denmark. dpa

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