A pet dog has tested positive for Covid-19 on 3 November following tests at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) laboratory in Weybridge, the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer has confirmed.
The dog is believed to have caught the virus from the owners, and is currently recovering at home. Covid symptoms in pets tend to be mild; while there is evidence suggesting they may in rare cases be infected by their owners, so far there is no proof suggesting pets may spread the virus to humans.
The first known case of a dog testing positive for Covid-19 was that of a pet dog in Hong Kong who tested “weakly positive” in February 2020, with a “low viral load” in the nasal and oral swabs. While a UK cat had also tested positive last year, this is the first such case confirmed in a dog the country.
UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said, “Tests conducted by the Animal and Plant Health Agency have confirmed that the virus responsible for Covid-19 has been detected in a pet dog in the UK. The infected dog was undergoing treatment for another unrelated condition and is now recovering.
“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.”
Dr Katherine Russell, Consultant Medical Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said, “Covid-19 is predominantly spread from person to person but in some situations the virus can spread from people to animals. In line with general public health guidance, you should wash your hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals.”