Covid-19: Pet dog first in UK to test positive for virus after catching it ‘from owners’

The dog was confirmed to have been infected with Covid-19 with scientists believing that the pet contracted the virus from its owners

A dog has contracted Covid-19 from their owners in a UK household (Credit: Shutterstock)

A pet dog has fallen ill with coronavirus after apparently catching the virus from its owners.

It is the first confirmed case in the UK of a dog testing positive for the virus.

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The dog fell ill with the virus after the family had previously tested positive for coronavirus and is now recovering at home.

At a glance: 5 key points:

  • The dog in questions tested positive at the Animal and Plant Health Agency laboratory in Weybridge, Surrey 
  • The dog is the first confirmed case of a canine in the UK to be infected with Covid-19
  • Previously, a British cat had tested positive for the virus in the same laboratory last year
  • Experts believe that there is no evidence that the dog was involved in the transmission of coronavirus to its owners or that animals in general are able to transmit the virus to humans
  • The case has been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health 

Can pets pass coronavirus onto humans?

Experts say that while extremely rare, the virus can be passed onto pets from humans as seen in this case.

However, there is no evidence to suggest that humans can contract coronavirus from their pets or any animals.

Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: “Tests conducted by the Animal and Plant Health Agency have confirmed that the virus responsible for Covid-19 has been detected in a pet dog in the UK.

“The infected dog was undergoing treatment for another unrelated condition and is now recovering.

“It is very rare for dogs to be infected and they will usually only show mild clinical signs and recover within a few days.

“There is no clear evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will update our guidance to pet owners should the situation change. ”

Dr Katherine Russell, consultant medical epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “Covid-19 is predominantly spread from person to person but in some situations the virus can spread from people to animals.

“In line with general public health guidance, you should wash your hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals.”

How do you protect your pets from contracting Covid-19?

A warning was issued for pet owners a few months ago after cases of pets contracting Covid-19 across Europe.

To help protect pets in the home, experts have recommended that people who have been infected should avoid their pets while the virus is active.

Dutch scientists studied the link between pets and their human owners who have been infected with the virus, and found that the likelihood of cats and dogs contracting Covid-19 was “common”.

They also said that there may be a “potential risk” that pets could acts as a “reservoir” for coronavirus and reintroduce it to humans despite infected pets posing a negligible risk to public health.

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