Health officials and the general public across the U.S. and all over the world are on high alert due to COVID-19, a disease that causes flu-like symptoms in people, including mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is SARS-CoV-2 (formerly 2019-nCoV).
While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person. There is no reason to think that any animals including pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. At this point, there is no evidence to indicate that pets can easily become ill with COVID-19 or that they spread it to other animals, including people. Conversely, if you are a pet owner and diagnosed with Covid, as a safety measure, it is recommended that someone else care for your pet until you are fully recovered. As always, careful hand washing before and after being around animals, and other infection control practices can greatly reduce the chance of spreading any disease.
Information about COVID-19, including guidelines, are being collected, studied and updated regularly by the health care and scientific communities. As there is so much information available to the public, we recommend getting information that comes directly from medical and science experts and other medical/scientific organizations such as the Center for Disease Control and the AVMA.
Lastly, there is a different type of canine coronavirus in dogs that can infect the intestinal tract in dogs and cause diarrhea in dogs. However the symptoms are usually inapparent or cause only mild symptoms- for this reason the canine corona vaccine is not recommended by most animal disease experts. Also, it is difficult to assess vaccine effectiveness since the symptoms are rare and often self-limiting.