Research finds virus prevalent in animals
Pet owners with coronavirus have been warned to keep their distance from their animals to prevent further spread of the disease.
Scientists in the Netherlands have found that coronavirus is common in cats and dogs.
It’s reported domestic animals carry a “potential risk” as carriers and can re-infect humans.
However, is not thought the disease carries a risk to the animals.
Dr Els Broens of Utrecht University said there had been no evidence of transmission between pet to human.
“It seems unlikely that pets play a role in the pandemic,” she said.
Research indicates that Covid-19 is highly prevalent in pets of people who have had the disease and they display no symptoms.
The researchers said their findings show that Covid-19 is highly prevalent in pets of people who have had the disease.
The research led by Dr Broens was presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) but has not yet been published in a journal.
They analysed the results of PCR tests on156 dogs and 154 cats from 196 households.
Six cats and seven dogs (4.2%) were found positive and 31 cats and 23 dogs (17.4%) tested positive for antibodies. Animals were tested in households with other pets which had the disease which came back negative indicating they were not spreading the disease.
Prof Dorothee Bienzle, a professor of veterinary pathology recommends keeping coronavirus-infected pets away from other people and pets.
She said the possibility of animals passing the virus on to humans should not be ruled out.
The Irish Times reported on how Prof James Wood, head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, said the studies were consistent with other research.
"A growing number of studies are suggesting that a substantial proportion of pet cats and dogs may catch Sars-CoV-2 virus from their owners,” he said.
"This then causes the Covid-19 variant to manifest within these pets. Although he did go on to comment that “most reports are that this infection appears to be asymptomatic”.