.
.
.
.
Coronavirus

One in five pets caught COVID-19 from their owners: Study

Published: Updated:

Humans can transmit COVID-19 to their pets, according to a Dutch study.

The study, conducted by Dr. Els Broens from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, found that a surprising number of cats and dogs caught the virus from their owners.

For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.

“About one in five pets will catch the disease from their owners,” Dr. Broens told Reuters on Thursday. “Luckily, the animals do not get very ill from it.”

Cat and dog laying down on grass. (Unsplash, Krista Mangulsone)
Cat and dog laying down on grass. (Unsplash, Krista Mangulsone)

Broens’ study examined 156 dogs and 154 cats from 196 households where people were known to have had previously contracted COVID-19. About 17 percent of the animals (31 cats and 23 dogs) had COVID-19 antibodies.

After PCR testing the animals for coronavirus, it was found that six cats and seven dogs - accounting for 4.2 percent of the surveyed animals - had an active COVID-19 infection.

However, results from further tests suggested that the animals were able to quickly recover from the virus and did not pass it on to other pets within the same household.

Broens believes that one of the root causes of infecting house pets was the affection that their owners showed them.

“A lot of the pet owners are in very close contact, like they sleep with their animals in their bed, so you can imagine that there’s close contact, so that transmission can take place,” she added.

It has long been speculated that the novel coronavirus was first identified in bats and since the pandemic’s early days, it has been known that non-human mammals were also able to get infected but a relatively small number of them became seriously ill from it.

For the latest headines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Cats sleep in the village of Krompach near the town of Cvikov, Czech Republic, August 26, 2018. (File Photo: Reuters)
Cats sleep in the village of Krompach near the town of Cvikov, Czech Republic, August 26, 2018. (File Photo: Reuters)

As of yet, minks have been known to be infected by humans who contracted COVID-19 and were able to pass on the virus to other humans too.

The veterinary medicine department head at Cambridge University, Professor James Wood, told the BBC that the study added to evidence suggesting that a huge number of cats and dogs were able to catch the virus from their owners, the BBC reported on Thursday.

“The Dutch study is robustly conducted and shows that around 20 percent of exposed pets may be infected and that they eventually clear the infection just as most humans do,” Wood said. “Most reports are that this infection appears to be asymptomatic.”

Read more:

Big cats, bears, ferrets get COVID-19 vaccine at Oakland Zoo

Is one dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine effective? Health experts weigh in

UK COVID-19 data looks ‘very positive’ for lifting lockdown: Minister