Pets can get Covid from humans


  • Vets urge avoiding close contact

  • Symptoms same as in humans 


By Dinitha Rathnayake


People who have tested positive for Covid-19 should avoid close contact with their pets as they could transmit the virus to the animals, according to the Sri Lanka Veterinary Association (SLVA).

Speaking to The Morning, SLVA Secretary Dr. G. Sugath Pemachandra said that people can spread the virus to animals in certain situations.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the transmission of Covid-19 can occur through direct, indirect, or close contact with infected people through infected secretions such as saliva and respiratory secretions or their respiratory droplets, which are expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or sings. Airborne transmission is defined as the spread of an infectious agent caused by the dissemination of droplet nuclei (aerosols) that remain infectious when suspended in air over long distances and time. A person can be infected when aerosols or droplets containing the virus are inhaled or come directly into contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth.

However, as explained by Dr. Pemachandra, while humans can spread the virus to animals, it cannot take place vice versa.

“If you are infected with Covid-19, please keep your pets at a distance and quarantine them for 14 days. If they are infected with the virus, they would get the same symptoms as humans. Do not pet, kiss, or share food with your pet. If you must care for your pet while sick, wear a cloth-made face covering. If you notice any Covid-19 symptoms in your pet, contact your veterinary physician or the hospital and do a PCR test on the animal. Since the veterinary physician has to be ready to conduct a PCR test, it is better to inform him/her prior to taking your pet to the hospital or the nearest clinic. If the test proves to be positive, the sample would be sent to the Peradeniya University’s Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science Faculty. Subsequently, the pet would have to be treated for Covid-19.”

Also, since the virus could transmit to animals from animals, if one has more than one pet, it is better to keep them at a distance to avoid transmission, Dr. Pemachandra added.

Meanwhile, Russian scientists developed the world’s first Covid-19 vaccination for animals, which was registered in March. Military dogs in Russia were among the first animals to receive a Covid-19 vaccination suited to animals. Experts say that there is no evidence that animals play a specific role in spreading Covid-19 to humans, although Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in various animal species across the world.