There seems to be new information surrounding pets and the pandemic coming out every day. Whether it’s training to dogs to sniff out COVID-19 or how the increased time together is strengthening the human-animal bond, pets are seeming to play a vital role in a variety of theories and studies.
As scientists struggle to figure out how the novel coronavirus emerged and identify ways to prevent future disease outbreaks, researchers from the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine are turning to our furry friends and the environment to see if pets can prevent a future pandemic.
“We know that this virus originated probably in an animal,” said Dr. Vanessa Hale, assistant professor of veterinary preventive medicine at the Ohio State University (OSU) College of Veterinary Medicine, in a statement. “What we saw after that was just rapid, dramatic and devastating spread through the human population.”
To conduct the study, epidemiologists, veterinarians and microbiologists from OSU turned their attention to pets, wildlife and farm animals to find out if those populations carry the virus and, if they do, the likelihood they could infect humans or create another COVID-19 variant.
It’s important to note that there’s still no evidence that pets spread COVID-19. However, there’s evidence to support that they can catch it. To that end, the FDA issued a series of guidelines for pet parents to follow to ensure they’re keeping their animals safe. In general, pet parents who tested positive for COVID-19 should follow the same hygiene measures with their pets as they do their friends and families: limited contact and, when contact is necessary, hand-washing before and after the interaction. At this time, officials don’t recommend getting pets COVID vaccinated.
Still have questions surrounding pets, COVID-19 and the vaccine? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.