Can your pet transmit coronavirus to humans?

A cat suspected of coronavirus faces deportation in Chennai; can pets transmit the virus?

Representative image. (Credit: AFP Photo)

Suspected of coronavirus, a cat from China has been held at the Chennai port, according to News 18. The cat now faces deportation to China but PETA India has opposed this idea. PETA India has instead demanded the release of the cat.The cat now faces deportation to Chennai, PETA India has opposed the idea and demands the release of the cat.

PETA India’s manager of veterinary services wrote a letter to the port authority saying that it had been established that cats could not contract or transmit the coronavirus, News18 reported. The letter told the port authority that cats are often killed for fur and meat in China and so, the animal should not be deported to the virus-hit country.

According to a CNN report, one dog in Hong Kong tested positive for coronavirus last week. The report adds that Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said that the samples from a dogs’ nasal and oral cavities were tested to be a weak positive for the virus. 

The dog, however, displayed no symptoms and was put into quarantine. Despite this unique case of a dog showing the novel coronavirus, the WHO and the AFCD agree that there is no evidence that dogs and cats can be infected with the virus. That’s because while dogs can test positive, it doesn't necessarily mean that they have been infected, said the report.

Dogs and cats do get coronaviruses but they are not the same as the virus associated with the current outbreak, said Jane Gray, Hong Kong SPCA’s chief veterinary surgeon. She added that in the past, cats were found infected with SARS but there was no evidence to suggest that cats had passed on the virus to humans.