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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, research has shown that pets and other animals can catch the coronavirus. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, at least 15 species of animals, including pets and wildlife, have contracted COVID-19. So will there be a feline or canine vaccine against COVID-19?
Don’t hold your breath. Simply put, pets are unlikely to get seriously ill from the coronavirus and also do not transmit COVID-19 to humans. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of animals transmitting COVID-19 to humans is low. And pets don’t live in zoos either, where many animals have been given an experimental COVID-19 vaccine from veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis, either out of caution for their endangered status or because they may encounter hundreds. of human “oohing” and “aahing” every day. The virus is also more likely to make some animals sicker than others.
“A vaccine is pretty unlikely, I think, for dogs and cats,” Dr. Will Sander, assistant professor in the department of clinical veterinary medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told The New York Times. in mid-November. report. “The risk of spreading disease and illness in pets is so low that no vaccine would be worth giving.”
So how can I protect my pet from COVID-19?
Animals infected with COVID-19 are rare. The FDA reports that a “very small number” of pets around the world have tested positive for COVID-19. An even smaller number of them will get very sick from COVID-19.
If a dog or cat becomes ill, it can exhibit human symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, sneezing, runny nose, diarrhea and vomiting, according to the CDC . Because the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spreads to pets on close contact, avoid kissing, cuddling, snuggling, or sleeping in the same bed as your pet if you are sick. of COVID-19, says the CDC. If anyone in your home tests positive for COVID-19, keep that person isolated from everyone, including pets, if possible.
Disaster preparedness can also protect pets during the pandemic. The ASPCA recommends keeping an emergency kit with at least two weeks of pet food and one month of pet medication. He also advises selecting a “designated caregiver” for your pets in case you can’t help them for some reason.
Although there are no vaccines for cats or dogs against COVID-19 yet, you must follow your own vaccinations (including a) helps protect everyone in your household, including pets.
How? ‘Or’ What not to protect your pet from COVID-19
Don’t put a mask on your dog or cat, says the CDC. Also, do not wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or other products, including hand sanitizer and other cleansers. There is currently no evidence to suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from a pet’s fur.
Can I test my pet for COVID-19?
If you think your pet has COVID-19 or is sick for any reason, call your vet. (However, if you have COVID-19 yourself, do not go see a veterinarian in person.) According to the CDC, pet testing may be recommended if the animal has had direct contact with a person with the condition. of COVID-19. However, vets are “encouraged to consider other causes of illness more common in animals and should use their clinical judgment when deciding whether to test animals for SARS-CoV-2,” according to the agency. Which means, given the low frequency of animals showing symptomatic symptoms of COVID-19, some other insect or disease could be causing your pet to feel a bit under the weather.
If your vet decides to test your pet, it will be through a buccal, oropharyngeal (throat) and / or rectal swab, according to the CDC.
And the minks?
At the end of 2020, the Danish government ordered the deaths of millions of mink following revelations that the animals caught COVID-19 from mink farmers and transmitted it to humans. The phenomenon of the mink-to-humans spread of COVID-19 has been reported in Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland and possibly the United States, according to the CDC. According to the Fur Commission USA, there are more than 275 mink farms in 23 states of the United States. On these farms, animals are raised and killed for their skin and other body parts, for use in clothing, cosmetics, and other materials.
In response, animal vaccine makers, including Zoetis, began work on vaccines for mink, The New York Times reported. The pharmaceutical company, which began work on a vaccine for dogs and cats in 2020, said in January that it had focused on mink and that “it is not uncommon to adapt vaccines to experimental purposes in other species “. In July, Zoetis said it was donating more than 11,000 doses of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine to zoos, conservatories and sanctuaries in 27 states.
The USDA is currently only accepting applications for COVID-19 animal vaccines for mink. Other animals (such as zoo animals) can only be vaccinated on a case-by-case basis, with the approval of the USDA and state veterinarians. Wisconsin Public Radio reported in July 2021 that the state’s Department of Agriculture, Commerce, and Consumer Protection approved Zoetis’ vaccine for mink in May. Wisconsin produces the most mink skins in the United States.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended for health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have about a health problem or health goals.