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WSU Researchers Explore Questions Of Coronavirus Spread Between Humans And Their Pets

Researchers at WSU’s Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory have been looking into any connection between COVID-19 in humans and pets. CREDIT: Henry Moore Jr/WSU


Are your pets at risk from COVID-19? According to animal scientists, no. The risk is low as there has not been an increase in the number of pets with respiratory issues.

However, data on animals becoming sick is limited.

Even though animals can carry the virus, there is currently no evidence pets can transmit it to you.

But Tim Baszler, who directs the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Washington State University, is worried about misinformation.

“If pets were perceived as transmitters of this disease, there would be large numbers of pets being abandoned to shelters or euthanized,” Baszler said.

ALSO SEE: Coronavirus News, Updates, Resources From NWPB

After an outbreak the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington nursing home made international headlines, WSU received calls from state agencies requesting test kits for the emotional support cats that live in the facility.

Baszler led the WSU team that created an animal test kit.

A positive result doesn’t mean the virus is active and causing symptoms. It only confirms the virus – or maybe parts of it – are present.

The primary goal of these tests is to collect data, and to help scientists learn how the virus impacts animals.

WSU researchers say that if you think you have COVID-19, you should isolate with your pets.

“Have a quarantine similar to what’s going on with the humans,” Baszler advised. “That’s 14 days currently.

But he strongly reiterated: COVID-19 is not a reason to surrender your pet.

Currently, there’s been no documented uptick in animals being abandoned or euthanized.

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Copyright 2020 Northwest Public Broadcasting

Natalie Newcomb