Human Corona Virus: Not a Threat to our Pets

Human Corona Virus:
Not a Threat to our Pets

By Dr. Ed Mapes
Stonebridge Animal Hospital
McKinney, Tx

The World Health Organization has confirmed that human corona virus infection, which originated in Saudi Arabia in April of 2012, is now linked to deaths throughout the Middle East and in several European nations. The virus is part of a family of coronaviruses that cause illnesses ranging from a cold to Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and has been re-named Middle East respiratory symptom coronavirus, or MERS-CoV. Corona viruses have been known to cause illnesses in many animal species for some time. Corona in dogs is responsible for a mild to moderate enteritis; the symptoms of which can include vomiting, loss of appetite, and diarrhea that may contain traces of blood. This disease is not serious in the vast majority of cases, and hospitalization is rarely warranted. Corona infection can cause more serious disease in cats; this is called Feline Infectious Peritonitis. Infection does not always result in this fatal disease because most cats’ immune systems are capable of suppressing the virus’ actions; the majorities of cats either experience no symptoms of disease (fully viral suppression) or intermittently come down with various clinical signs such as respiratory infections.

 Pathway of possible outcomes in cats after exposure to Feline Corona Virus.

Pathway of possible outcomes in cats after exposure to Feline Corona Virus.

There is no evidence at this time that the corona infections of animals are transmissible to humans, and vice versa. The viral strains are different, and there should be no cross contamination between species. We have many cats in our practice that have tested positive for the corona virus, and there is no evidence whatsoever, as of this writing, that humans or other animals are at risk of exposure from these positive cats. The latest iteration of corona virus has not made it to our shores as of yet, but undoubtedly will at some point. The good news is that there should be no risk to our pets when it does get here.

Comments are closed.