In a press release by the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said that a pet dog had been tested ‘weak positive’ to COVID-19 virus.
The dog does not have any ‘relevant symptoms’.
At present, the AFCD does not have evidence that pet dogs can be infected with the virus or be a source of infection to people. The spokesman stated that the department will conduct close monitoring of the concerned dog and collect further samples for testing to confirm if it has really been infected with the virus or this is a result of ‘environmental contamination of the dog’s mouth and nose’.
“Repeated tests will be conducted for the dog and it will only be returned when the test result is negative”, the statement said.
The pet dog belongs to a patient infected with the disease, and was kept under quarantine at the animal keeping facility at the Hong Kong Port of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
The spokesman has advised putting ‘mammalian pets of patients confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19’ under quarantine by the AFCD to ‘ensure public and animal health’. Pet owners were also reminded to maintain a good hygiene and wash their hands regularly.
WHO: No Evidence yet That Dogs Can Be Infected
The World Health Organisation, in its advice to the public, stated some common myths and clarified them.
“At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans.”
Regardless, knowledge about COVID-19 is still evolving. While researchers wouldn’t want to completely negate the possibility, the chances of this happening are next to zero.
Notably, there are certain types of coronaviruses that dogs may catch, such as the ‘canine coronavirus’. It can be transmitted among dogs and does not affect humans.
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Also Read: Can Your Dog Catch the Coronavirus?
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