First UK pet dog contracts COVID after its owners tested positive for the virus. The case has been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health in line with international agreements. The dog is the first case to be confirmed in the UK for the virus.
The infection was confirmed on November 3, after tests at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) laboratory in Weybridge, Surrey. It is here that the first cat in the UK was diagnosed with COVID last year
Experts say there is no evidence the animal was involved in the transmission of the disease to its owners, or that domestic animals are able to transmit the virus to humans.
The UK’s chief veterinary officer, Dr Christine Middlemiss, said: “Tests conducted by the Animal and Plant Health Agency have confirmed that the virus responsible for COVID has been detected in a pet dog in the UK. The infected dog was undergoing treatment for another unrelated condition and is recovering.
“It is very rare that a dog to contracts COVID 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 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.”
Cat or dog owners who have COVID should avoid their pets, warn experts.
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