Canadian vets say stay away from pets if you're sick after tiger diagnosed with COVID-19
Though scientists are already aware that COVID-19 is a zoonotic — an infectious disease which originated in non-human animal species — people are becoming more aware of their potential to transit it to animals now that at least one tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City has tested positive with the virus.
The four-year-old Malayan tiger is among seven big cats that have fallen ill, whom experts believe contracted the communicable disease from a zoo employee.
This comes after several household pets around the world, both cats and dogs, have also tested positive for COVID-19, though it is the first instance of its kind in the U.S.
The infection of 'Nadia' now raises new questions about human-to-animal transmission. Are our pets safe? #Coronavirus #humananimaltransmission News - Coronavirus: Tiger at Bronx Zoo tests positive for Covid-19 https://t.co/qc3eUAN4HK— Hind Elhinnawy (@HindElhinnawy) April 6, 2020
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has officially advised anyone north of the border who has the virus, or thinks that they might, to try and exercise caution around household pets and other animals for the safety of their furry friends.
The professional group is asking those individuals with symptoms and/or who are self-isolating to "follow similar recommendations around animals as they would around other people in these circumstances" so as not to get their pets sick (something that seems to be extremely rare).
The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have likewise asked potentially infected Canadians to avoid close contact like kissing,coughing or sneezing directly near animals.
Bodies like the World Health Organization and the U.S.'s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also made similar suggestions recently.
Looks like animals can get infected too: Tiger at the Bronx Zoo. Curious how many pet owners are going to make masks for their pets 😂🧐😳 #TigerKingNetflix #tigerkingmemes #BronxZoo #coronavirus— Kathleen Kenney (@designedbykk) April 6, 2020
Though it appears that animals may be able to potentially contract the disease from us, there is currently zero evidence that the public should be worried about them being a risk to humans, or about their role in the global outbreak.
As any pet owner knows, animal companions can boost your mood and mental health, making them a lifesaver during this time of social distancing, especially for those of us who live alone.
As the CMVA notes, "pets contribute to our overall happiness and well-being, especially in times of stress" — and seeing as trying to do our respective parts to help in a global pandemic may be the most stressful time any of us have ever had, keeping our pets close by seems wise right now (as long as, of course, we're still feeling healthy).
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