BVA responds to report of human-to-animal Covid-19 transmission 

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has released its response to reports that a dog has tested positive for Covid-19 in what is “likely” to be a case of human-to-animal transmission.

The Pomeranian dog repeatedly tested weak positive for the virus in Hong Kong, as confirmed by Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. 

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The dog was placed in quarantine last week after testing ‘weak positive’ for the virus, and tests were being done to determine whether the dog tested positive due to environmental contamination from the infected owner.

Responding to this news, BVA president Daniella Dos Santos, said: “The OIE and Hong Kong Government have unanimously agreed that the ongoing test results of the Pomeranian dog suggest that the dog has a low-level of infection and that this is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission. The dog has not shown any clinical signs of disease and is still under quarantine.

“We are particularly keen not to cause any unnecessary concern that could lead to pet abandonment. We would emphasise that at the moment, there remains no evidence that pet animals can be a source of infection of Covid-19 for humans or other animals, or that they become sick. The main source of infection remains human-to-human transmission.”

She added: “Our advice for pet owners who have been instructed to self-isolate because of infection or risk of infection with Covid-19 is to keep your pets isolated with you but restrict your contact with them as a precautionary measure until more information is known about the virus and routes of transmission.

“Owners should always wash their hands before and after any interaction with an animal and avoid being licked by their pet. If a pet shows clinical signs, please do not take it to the vet; call your vet practice for further advice.”

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