Humans can transmit the new coronavirus (Covid-19) to dogs and cats, according to the results of a study by Italian scientists published on Monday.
The study tested 540 dogs and 277 cats living in households in northern Italy where a person was infected with the virus, or in areas where there were many cases of the virus.
The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, found antibodies against the coronavirus in 3.4% of the dogs and 3.9% of the cats, indicating that they had been infected with the virus.
However, the samples for active viral infections were negative in all animals since the virus shedding period ends after two weeks. The tests were carried out between March and May of this year.
“This confirms what we already knew,” said Thomas Mettenleiter, Director of the German Institute for Animal Health (FLI), according to whom the results show that the virus spreads from humans to animals.
Most of the animals in the study came from coronavirus-affected households, indicating that the infection is generally transmitted from human to animal, he added.
Mettenleiter pointed out that this study supports FLI’s hypothesis that cats and dogs do not play a significant role in the spread of Covid-19, and that healthy people do not need to limit their contact with their pets.
However, people infected with the virus should limit their contact with their pets, although there is as yet no evidence that animals can die from the coronavirus, said Mettenleiter.
The Brussels Times