The dog’s infection could lead owners who’ve tested positive to isolate from their pets in order to protect their health.The UK’s chief vet Christine Middlemiss said it is ‘very rare’ for dogs to catch Covid.
She said: ‘The infected dog was undergoing treatment for another unrelated condition and is now recovering.
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‘It is very rare for dogs to be infected and they will usually only show mild clinical signs and recover within a few days.
‘There is no clear evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans.
‘We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will update our guidance to pet owners should the situation change.’
People are advised to wash their hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals.The dog’s case has been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health in line with international agreements.
While it is Britain’s first such known instance, Dutch scientists found 43% of dogs belonging to an infected person had produced Covid antibodies. Dr Els Broens of Utrecht University said it was possible that pets could act as a ‘reservoir’ for the virus and reintroduce it to humans. A different study in Canada said cats who sleep in the same room as their owners were at particular risk of contracting Covid. UK Health Security Agency consultant medical epidemiologist Dr Katherine Russell said: ‘Covid-19 is predominantly spread from person to person but in some situations the virus can spread from people to animals.
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‘In line with general public health guidance, you should wash your hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals.’
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