Coronavirus: Could Your Dog Be At Risk?

As the coronavirus continues to march around the globe, many dog owners are wondering if their canine companions could be at risk. received a press release from Texas A&M University Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences (CVM) addressing this issue and we are sharing information from it here to help answer your questions. 

The family of coronaviruses are commonly known to cause mild infections in both dogs and cats, and also contributes to Infectious Tracheobronchitis Complex (ITB), also known as kennel cough. 

Dr. Deb Zoran, a professor at CVM, states “the coronaviruses that infect animals do not infect humans unless the virus mutates, which is what 2019-nCoV did in the Wuhan, China region.” 

But Dr. Kate Creevy, associate professor at CVM, wants to assure dog owners that “at this time, we do not believe humans can catch (any form of) coronavirus from their pet.” Also, the veterinarians at CVM do not believe that pets are able to contract the 2019-nCoV mutated virus. 

Dr. Zoran emphasizes that “… for pets, there is a possibility that 2019-nCoV has mutated in a way that it could affect pets, but that is unlikely,” she said. “It’s OK to be aware of that and pay attention to emerging news, but it’s even more important for owners to understand the things that we already know coronavirus can and does do.”

“The first, and most important, thing to remember,” Zoran explains, “is that most coronaviruses are very specific to the species they infect, meaning the cat coronaviruses don’t infect dogs or humans and vice versa. As with all viruses, a clean environment, healthy diet, and good husbandry is the best way to ensure that viruses don’t cause problems for you or your pet.”

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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