Por: Imprensa | Em: 19/03/2020
By Dr. Mario Marcondes (Editora Abril)
The arrival of the new coronavirus in Brazil raised many doubts and concerns. Including the possibility that pets can catch the infectious agent that causes Covid-19. Hence the importance of making clarifications based on what science has discovered so far.
Dogs and cats can contract a coronavirus specific to their species. It has nothing to do with Covid-19 and is not transmitted to humans. For now there is no evidence that pets are falling ill with the new coronavirus or that they are capable of spreading the disease.
Although we can be more relaxed about this, we must remember that, because it is a new disease, we must follow what serious research is unveiling. Official and up-to-date information on these studies can be found in bulletins such as that of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) – an entity on which veterinarians around the world are based today.
Now, if the guardian catches the disease, can he stay with his animal during the quarantine? The current guideline is clear: people infected with the coronavirus must remain isolated and take measures to not transmit the disease to their family members and colleagues.
In times of social networking and pandemic, information circulates faster than ever and some posts have started to raise doubts and apprehensions. This is the case of celebrities who tested positive for Covid-19 and published photos of them in the company of their pets.
Blogger Gabriela Pugliese recently released on her Instagram profile that she contracted the disease at her sister’s wedding in Bahia and is recovering with her dog. In the picture, she finds the pet on her lap without protection.
Another personality, the singer Di Ferrero, stated that he contracted the coronavirus and is following the guidelines of restriction and protection … alongside his dogs (who would not catch the disease).
The information that pets do not contract Covid-19 is correct. However, since it is something new, entities such as WSAVA advise the use of gloves and masks and hand hygiene with water and soap or alcohol gel before and after having contact with animals. This serves both to protect the animal and to protect other people who live with it.
In China, a guardian dog with the disease was tested as weakly positive for Covid-19, which may indicate environmental contamination. The animal remains under observation, has no symptoms and the international agencies of Veterinary Medicine are monitoring the behavior of the virus.
Given all this, it is worth repeating: guardians who caught Covid-19 should avoid direct contact with their pets and, in doing so, it is prudent to use gloves and masks and wash hands before and after to protect the animal. This is an orientation that has been followed by veterinary hospitals worldwide, including reference institutions – and we have reinforced this in the service of the Veterinary Hospital Sena Madureira, in São Paulo.
In order to monitor the coronavirus, an important American laboratory, Idexx, has just published that it has developed a Covid-19 test for pets, already performed on thousands of animals. The good news: everyone was negative! This reinforces the idea that pets do not contract or transmit the virus.
On our side, that of tutors, it does not hurt to adhere to hygiene and personal and social protection measures. After all, we humans are the most exposed to this pandemic.