It is possible that pets with other symptoms may not have been seen by these doctors, whose focus was on cardiology, Ferasin said.
The study was published in the journal on November 4 Veterinary Record. Subsequent reports in several European countries have also found that pets test positive for the virus, Ferasin said.
The research shows that the virus was transmitted from humans to pets. There is no evidence that the virus has been transmitted from pets to humans, he noted.
“It seems that the virus can only be transmitted from humans to pets and it is probably a very important message to avoid the kind of panic reaction in response to this publication,” Ferasin said. “We don’t want people to think they can get COVID from animals. It’s probably more likely the other way around.”
Dr. Jose Arce, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, reiterated the message that the cases apparently spread from humans to animals.
“While COVID is primarily a human disease, there have been documented cases of COVID infections in animals,” Arce said, noting that it includes wildlife in zoos, domestic animals and the animals at mink farms.
In most cases, the animals have very mild diseases, Arce said. As with humans, those who are immunosuppressed may develop worse symptoms.
Pet owners can protect their furry friends with the same kind of precautions that protect other people around them, including washing hands thoroughly, especially before touching the pet and wearing a mask.
Masks should not be placed on pets because they are not made to be safe for them, Arce said.
If possible, someone who has COVID-19 should try to avoid contact with their pet if there is another person who can care for the animal, Arce said.
But, “if you are positive and you want your dog on board in the hospital, do not just show up at the door. Call ahead of time so we can take the necessary precautions,” Arce added.
A pet traveling back and forth between a part of the house where someone lives in quarantine with COVID-19 and another part where there are people who are not sick can bring the virus between the two groups on his coat , so Arce also warned against letting pets travel between sick and healthy family members.