Coronavirus in Animals? Swiss Experts Claim Social Distancing Among Pets Equally Important

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The novel coronavirus has impacted the entire world. The most common and effective precautionary measures against the virus are wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing. These measures have been only restricted to human beings in society. But, now as per health experts, the practice of social distancing in animals is also advisable.

In a report published in The Daily Mail, health experts in Switzerland have stated that pets should be maintaining social distancing in order to avoid the contraction of the deadly virus. It is recommended that dogs maintain a distance of two meters among each other and cats should be kept indoors. This theory is backed by research that claims that domesticated animals including cats and hamsters can contract the virus, like other creatures including ferrets and mink.

Johannes Kaufmann, a veterinarian from the Swiss animal clinic AniCura, said, “The [American] Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise pet owners to apply social distancing rules to their pets.” The expert also added that there are chances of the coronavirus staying longer in a pet’s fur as compared to their nasal secretions.

Volker Thiel, a virologist from the University of Bern in Switzerland, has agreed with AniCura's recommendations. He said, “in principle, social distancing is just as useful for pets as it is for humans, to ensure that pets cannot transmit the virus to humans or other pets.”

However, till now, there is no documented evidence which states that humans have contracted the novel coronavirus from their pets. Cases of animals testing positive for COVID-19 in zoos and national parks have come to light but till date, no case of transmission from pet to pet owners has been reported.

Meanwhile, a local Swiss newspaper has reported that the country's Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) is in the process of conducting research in animal infection risks to humans.