While coronavirus is spreading around the world, a team of Harbin Veterinary Research Institute concludes that animals like dogs, pigs and ducks are not likely to get affected by the virus. There have been few reports of pets being infected including a cat in Belgium and two dogs in Hong Kong. It raised the concern if the virus can be transmitted through pets.

The team led by virologist Bu Zhigao experimented by injecting five young dogs with SARS-CoV-2 samples. They found out two excreted viral RNA in their faeces but it did not contain infectious virus. Similar type investigation was done with pigs, chickens and ducks but they did not identify viral RNA in these animals.

The researchers also injected samples of SARS-CoV-2 in five domestic cats through the nose. Then these cats were put in a cage with uninfected ones. The team detected viral RNA in one of the uninfected cats which suggests that they got it from droplets breathed out by infected ones. However, they noticed that all these cats produced antibiotics against SARS-CoV-2.

Pets who tested positive

dog
Dog abused (Representational picture) Pixabay

A cat diagnosed with COVID-19 in Belgium started to raise the question on transmission of virus between humans and animals. The cat got diagnosed after a week when its owner fell ill with the deadly virus. In a similar case a German shepherd and a mix breed dog were put for quarantine when tested positive for coronavirus in Hong Kong. Both the dogs were shifted on March 19 after the owner was confirmed to be infected.

In another case, Hong Kong reported death of a Pomeranian on March 16 due to the novel coronavirus. The pet was released after it was kept under observation who tested "weak positive" repeatedly. The dog died within two days after it was released from quarantine. Health officials in Hong Kong suggests that there is no evidence which supports that virus could spread between pets and humans so there is no need to abandon them.