The coronavirus and pets

Les coronavirus et les animaux domestiques

Did you know that there are several types of coronavirus ? According to the WHO, there is no evidence that our domestic animals can be infected by the one that has hatched in China, 2019-Voc, everyone is talking about. However, there are other kinds of coronavirus, which can affect our little friends.

Since a few days, the word “coronavirus” is on all lips to speak of a new virus family (2019-nCoV) that has been detected in Wuhan in China, especially since the world Health Organization (WHO) has agreed that this outbreak meets the criteria of a public health emergency of international concern.

Up to the present, this new coronavirus does not touch the animals. This should reassure the pet owners on this subject.

Virus species-specific

Knowing this, did you know that there are other coronaviruses that can affect our pets ? In fact, when one speaks of coronavirus, one speaks of a large family of viruses, coronaviridae, which have a basic structure similar : they have an envelope that resembles a crown, hence the name “corona” which means crown. Therefore, different coronaviruses have been identified in mammals and birds over time. These are usually associated with gastro-intestinal diseases or respiratory diseases. Some of these viruses produce symptoms rather mild and others more severe.

Up to now, in regards to cats and dogs, they may be carriers of some coronavirus, but these are species-specific : they can not provide it to us. This being said, the hygiene is always appropriate and one should always wash the hands to prevent other communicable diseases from animal to man (and vice versa) such as salmonellosis, for example.

Here are a few examples of coronavirus only in pets

  • In the dog, the coronavirus canine may cause symptoms of gastro-enteritis, rather benign, and is usually spread by the stool. Infected animals are often young people. The animals often catch this virus in shelters or farms, locations where there are multiple dogs.
  • In the cat, another coronavirus-spreads through the fecal material and typically causes clinical signs digestive mild (diarrhea, vomiting, anorexia). Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that this virus mutates and causes a disease named feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a fatal disease.
  • In the ferret, a coronavirus identified in 1993 would cause the catarrhal enteritis epizootic of the ferret, a disease that is also spread through feces and cause diarrhea color almost lime green. More recently, a coronavirus systemic (FRSCV) has been identified in ferrets and produces symptoms resembling the FIP in the cat.
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