The federal Center for Disease Control is now recommending pets too practice social distancing.
“Treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people or animals outside the household,” according to the new guidelines released earlier this week. “If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets.”
While, according to the CDC, there are reports of at least one tiger and small number of domestic animals who have tested positive, the risk factor of transmission from, or to, a pet is very low.
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“At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19,” according to the CDC.
There is not any evidence to support the idea the virus can be carried on an animal’s fur or hair, and there is no evidence to suggest the virus can spread from the skin, hair or fur of pets, according to the CDC.
The CDC does not recommend people have their pets tested for COVID-19.
It is not clear which animals are susceptible to the virus, but the CDC does recommend anyone who has tested positive to avoid contact with all animals including household pets.
It is not clear which animals are susceptible but “recent research shows” that ferrets, cats and “golden Syrian hamsters” can be infected with the virus in a laboratory setting. “Pigs, chickens and ducks did not become infected or spread the infection” according to results from the same studies.
“Data from one study suggested dogs are not as likely to become infected with the virus as cats and ferrets,” according to the CDC.
Based on the limited low risk of an animal spreading COVID-19 to humans, the CDC does not believe adopting an animal from a shelter presents any undue danger to the adoptee.
As to why animals are being tested when test kits are in demand for humans, the CDC said: “Animals are only being tested in very rare circumstances. Routine testing of animals is not recommended at this time, and any tests done on animals are done on a case by case basis.”