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‘No Evidence’ of Coronavirus Spread Via Pets, American Humane Says

‘They are not a threat to you or your family,’ CEO says.

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WASHINGTON, DC — There’s no evidence that pets are a source of infection of COVID-19 or that they become sick, American Humane said in a news release.

“Around the globe, we are seeing confusion and rash action taken in response to the coronavirus,” said American Humane President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert. “Right now, we need people to treat their pets with kindness and compassion. They are not a threat to you or your family.”

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Many of these misguided fears grew out of reports that a dog in Hong Kong tested positive for COVID-19 last week but was not infected with the virus, the organization stated.

“While the virus is staying in the respiratory system of the dog, it is not infected,” according to the release. “This is a case of human-to-animal transmission and means that dogs can carry low levels of the virus but don’t become sick. There’s no evidence that your cats and dogs are more likely to spread the coronavirus than your cell phone or keys. Apart from staying in the respiratory system, the disease can reside on the skin like it can on any inanimate object. Researchers do not yet know how long COVID-19 can survive on surfaces and objects.”

In China, families are abandoning pets at alarming numbers and there are some reports that cats and dogs are being put down to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to American Humane.

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American Humane is urging pet owners to maintain good hygiene practices and under no circumstances should abandon their pets. Follow these steps to prepare:

  • Stock up on necessities in case you need to stay home for two to three weeks, including pet food and medications.
  • Wash your hands after playing with your cat or dog.
  • Don’t abandon your companion animals.
  • Stay up to date on the latest advisories and information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

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