Coronavirus in Dogs and Cats vs. Humans

*This article was updated by Dr. Greer on 5/4/20 to include new information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The news is filled with breaking stories about the spread of a coronavirus, dubbed nCoV-2019, or COVID-19.  This is a scary disease, and recent news reports have led to many questions from pet owners and travelers alike. 

COVID-19 in pets is rare. There have been a few cases of dogs and cats in the U.S. that have tested positive for COVID-19, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most of those pets had close contact with people with COVID-19. However, according to the CDC at this time, there is no evidence that pets play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.

We know dogscats, and some other mammals have their own versions of coronavirus, including both those that cause GI syndromes (vomiting and diarrhea, mostly in very young puppies and kittens) and upper respiratory syndromes. There are two forms of coronavirus in cats, the enteric form, and the FIP form – both wet and dry. FIP and enteric coronavirus in cats also do not appear to be related to the current outbreak in humans. The two diseases cannot be easily distinguished between. The disease is named “coronavirus” as the virus appears to be crown-like in electron microscope images. 

The current outbreak has not changed our recommendations for vaccinating our pets. In general, we do not recommend vaccinating all of our dogs or cats for coronavirus. Some breeding females may be vaccinated against coronavirus, the intestinal form, to protect her pups. In high-risk cats, we may recommend vaccinating for FIP, the feline form of coronavirus. The current coronavirus vaccination for dogs and cats will not protect you or your pet from the COVID-19 outbreak. There is no current human coronavirus vaccine but research is being done to develop one. 

What you need to know about coronavirus/COVID-19:

1.    Dogs, cats, and some other mammals have their own versions of coronavirus which is different from the human version.
2.    At this time, there is no vaccine for human or animal coronavirus that will stop the spread of this new disorder. 
3.    The CDC recommends avoiding contact with infected people and social distancing of at least six feet, to reduce the risk of disease and spreading it. Using soap and water, avoiding rubbing your face, and other personal hygiene skills will also reduce your risk.
4. The CDC recommends treating pets as you would other human family members and do not let pets interact with people or animals outside of your household. If a person in your house becomes sick with COVID-19, isolate that person from everyone, including pets.

If you have more questions on the coronavirus in dogs and cats, call a Revival Pet Care Pro at 800.786.4751.

Dr. Greer
Marty Greer, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health


 


59 thoughts on “Coronavirus in Dogs and Cats vs. Humans”

  1. Very good info. Thank you for taking g the time to post so that we have a better understanding of this virus in regards to our pets.

  2. Hello,
    If this covid19 virus came for an animal market in Wuhan, didn’t it come from animals? This crossed over to humans? Can’t animals get it ? I’m very concerned about my small kennel. I have a litter of puppies, plus I have retired seniors. Should I vaccinate with Coronavirus?
    Thanks in advance.
    Tracy

    1. Hello Tracy,

      Thank you for reaching out to us. Within the article, Dr. Greer states that the virus appears to have come from a bat or snake from the market and mutated to infect humans. She also goes on to say, “At this time, there is no indication that our domestic dogs, cats, and other animals in the United States are involved. It does not appear that our pets in the U.S. either have this virus, nCoV-2019 or are able to contract it.” Though our domestic pets have their own form of the coronavirus, the one we are speaking about is strictly about humans. If you have questions regarding vaccinations for the domestic pet coronavirus, we recommend speaking to your vet. -Maria at Revival

      1. Thank you Maria. My dad was a veterinarian and I spent most of my time growing up in the vet office and on calls. Only an idiot would consider a one way virus… these people and “Dr Greer” are not just morons they are dangerous to public health….

  3. Corona Virus in cats & its relation to FIP has been a grave concern for decades. Do you suppose if a better effort to figure this out in cats years ago would have helped inform a better understanding of the mutation & epidemiology of the corona virus in humans?

    1. FIP in cats has been a long term scourge especially when cats are stressed. Through the Winn Foundation there have been many projects trying to erradicate or find a good vaccine. Current vaccine has low efficacy and unless you are showing (not now!) or breeding , it is not worth the time and expense.

    1. Hello Darkene, I just spoke to our Pet Care Pros and they would recommend you use Rescue, Provet Logic Disinfectant, or Oxine. They also added that if you purchase oxine, you’ll need to purchase activator crystals. For more recommendations or help, please call in to our Pet Care Pros. 😊 -Maria at Revival

  4. Hi Dr Greer

    Thank you for this info. However, there’s a mistake that I’m sure you didn’t mean. You call FIP, “the feline form of coronavirus…” which it is not. The feline form of coronavirus is feline coronavirus. FIP is a rare mutation of feline coronavirus and is fatal. It is not THE feline form of coronavirus. I’m sure you simply made a mistake in wording but what is written says that all feline coronavirus is FIP, which can only spread fear where it’s not warranted. Most US cats have contracted the mild feline coronavirus but relatively few go on to develop FIP, which is a fatal and horrific disease.

    Someone please take a moment and change the wording. Thank you. I just recommended Revival and vet on a new-to-me kitten care board on FB, just this very evening.

  5. Hi, I was curious, during our current COVID-19 mess, should we be sheltering our pets in place and only taking them out for walks in areas that don’t have a lot of human and pet traffic? And, last, is it safe for them to go to the vet for checkups or should they be postponed a while and only bring them in for emergencies? Does Chlorhexidrine Gluconate 2% for dog wounds kill the coronavirus for pets as well as humans? Thanks for your time.

    1. Hello Mrs. B, those are all great questions! Based on many different articles I have read, it’s best to just care for your dog within your own yard and space. If you are self-isolating, it’s recommended you find or hire someone to walk your dog for you. I would ask your vet for further recommendations. As for vet appointments, I would call your vet and see what protocols they have set up and what they would recommend for you and your pet. Every clinic will be different. As for your final question, Chlorhexidine Gluconate 2% is not strong enough to use as a disinfectant against Covid-19. Rescue and Provet disinfectants are though. Our Pet Care Pros recommend looking for a disinfectant that states it’s good against viruses such as SARS and MERS. Let us know if you have any other questions! -Maria at Revival

      1. What about for hand washing? Is the Clorhexadine 2% effective for that? It is quite impossible to get regular hand sanitizer or wipes these days.

        Also, I would think if humans hug, pet and kiss their pets, they can communicate the infection as a secondary source, among family members hugging, kissing or petting same pet(s). Hard to give up THAT social contact, since it is endorphin therapy.😢

        Thank you.

      2. Regarding your assertion that Clorhexadine Gluconate 2% not being effective against Covid-19, please see this article about a Canadian hand sanitizer made with Clorhexadine Gluconate, being in demand & what they say about it. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-fuels-130000372.html?guccounter=1

        The product is called DermSAFE.

        I made an earlier post asking about that part of your post as well, but don’t see it here now.

        Thanks.

        1. Hello Victoria,

          About your earlier post, you were unable to see it because all posts go through an approval process. We get a lot of spam comments on our blog, so to keep our customers safe, we have to approve every comment that is made.

          As for Chlorhexidine 2%, it’s not an effective disinfectant on its own. It’s not an assumption that was made, but something our Pet Care Pros have learned and know to be true. I can’t comment on Dermsafe as it is not a product we carry. So, I’m not sure if it’s effective against COVID-19. We know that disinfectants that are effective against SARS and MERS are disinfectants you should be using. The disinfectants that we carry and we know are effective is Rescue and ProVet. We recommend, that if you have more questions about safe products and practices that you contact your vet or physician. They’ll be able to give you the most effective tips for your area.

          -Maria at Revival

      3. Hello I had ques. If you work at a vet office . Say a person who is infected sneezes or coughs on there animal and they bring animal in for a service can you contract virus from the fur.

        1. Hello Elizabeth, That is an excellent question. I will pass it along to Dr. Greer and let you know what she says. -Maria at Revival

        2. Hello Elizabeth,
          Here is Dr. Greer’s response, “Hi, there is no evidence they can carry it on their coats. You should still wash your hands though after handling a cat or dog. -Dr. Marty Greer”.

  6. Biosecurity: Disinfection Mats, floor use for shoes. Can you tell me, is the Nolvasan Gallon Disinfectant product is safe to use in these disinfection mats? And if so, what is the correct dilution rate per gallon of water of Nolvasan product if we are aiming to protect against the recent CoronaVirus, Covid-19?

    1. Hello Mary, any disinfectant can be used in the disinfectant mat except Bleach. Bleach will eat the matt. -Sheryl at Revival

  7. I took in a foster female cat from the shelter I volunteer for. She looked heavily pregnant, but after a vet visit, was diagnosed with fip. Her belly was full of fluid, not kittens. Two vets said nothing you can do, but as long as I was fostering her, they did not recommend putting her down at that point. She was totally isolated from my other cats. I had her about 5 weeks. Came home on a Friday, and she was having some labored breathing. She passed that evening. She died loved and cared for, which was the best i could do for her.

    1. The cat should be euthanized the moment the cat starts showing symptoms of FIP to the extent it is a quality of life. With labored breathing or seizures that is when to put the cat down. Please do not let your cat suffer. That is the worst thing you can do to an animal is let them suffer. I’ve had 4 cats die from FIP. It is a horrible disease.

      1. Thank you Meg for addressing this comment as I was so upset after reading it! The poor cat should have never gotten to the point of having a hard time getting a lung full of air! I like you have seen the effects on both wet and dry, very sad and the whole house needs to be cleaned and sanitized regardless if they were seperated

  8. Hello. We live in the countryside of Ohio, where there has now been 3 confirmed deaths from the covid-19 virus. The numbers keep rising & trying to protect my family & pets by only going out when I must get food or nessasary essentials. We just had a litter of pups who received the 5 way, 1st vaccinations. I was told there is a 6 way vaccine for puppies that protects against covid-19. For us it’s to late to try & how true that is I’m uncertain? Sadly one of our dogs passed away at 8 years old, just recently. We didn’t do an autopsy, though sometimes wish we would have as this was something very sudden. He was completely fine & acting normal the week before he passed. The symptoms was he threw up on day 1 dry nose & laying around. He was still drinking water eating & going out potty, day 2 he wouldn’t eat anything but boild eggs & boiled shreaded chicken & chicken broth. He was still drinking water & going out potty. On day 3 he seemed he was coming back out of it. Started to be his ol’ ornery self lovable & attention hog he was. On day 4 around 7pm ish he completely shut down. He went out to potty then layed down by back door, soon as he came inside. I tried to hand feed & he would turn his head, refused all food. So I gave him a bowl of water & put a little bit of sugar in it because he couldn’t lift his head. He lost all motor function. I was afraid his sugar could go low & cause a seizure. The sugar is sweet so he did like it & lapped up half the bowl from 7:30 pm to 12:30 am. I also got a syringe to give him pedialyte so his electrolytes wouldn’t go down. I was worried so I started taking his temperature by the hour. I know if there is a drop in temperature then that’s not good & he could pass on us. Every temp reading I got at 10:30 pm, 11:30 pm & 1:30 am was 102°. I had a vet appointment planned for him in the morning, last thing I thought of was him passing before morning as temperatures were all ideal. I decided to sleep with him so I could watch him. At 1am he got up & walked over to me & I thought Oh great he’s walking!! That’s when I checked his temperature at 1:30 am & it was 102°. Never did his temperature drop on every check. Then between 2 & 2:30 am he passed away. Very sudden as this was a 4 day span. He never seemed in discomfort, no crying, or showing pain at all. In fact he was doing so great, before he got sick, we booked a beach trip for mother’s day & he was going. He was a bull terrier, very friendly, loved people & I took him everywhere. People would ask to stop & take a photo with him because he was very large. On our home vet scale his last weigh in was 102.2 pounds. Healthy at all vet checks & just big muscular beauty. Some think he had a twisted stomach as he was wide chested & I did feel two lumps on both sides of abdomen around 8pm on last day, day 4. But as I checked symptoms of twisted stomach, he showed no signs of it. I did notice redness & some bumpy almost blister looking bumps in bum area where I took his temperature, so that makes me think he had some diarrhea. He was not one to get into things, eat things or tear things up. He was well mannered & well trained. Alot of people pat him & he was out in the community almost every day with me to always socialize him as he loved socializing. We do have as I mentioned another Bull Terrier, who just had litter of pups, our bull terrier who passed was neutered & this litter is not his. A young St Bernard that’s 9 months old & a older rescue that’s 11 years old. Not knowing what happened to our 8 year old EBT is a bit scary. I did disinfect everything. He was around our old rescue girl who’s 11 as they were close & around our St Bernard, also our human family of course. Our momma & her 5 babies have not been around him or other dogs. We also have a child in home with terminal lung condition & low immune system. So we have always practiced hygiene, sanitation, disinfecting all surfaces we touch in home, hand washing & have raised our child & taught him about germs as its essential for him & his health. We have isolated our selves & our son has been with home school this entire year. But back to our dog. Has anyone experienced anything like this, have thoughts on this? He passed on March 10th. So far everyone humans & pups in home are healthy & seem ok. Its just mindboggling to me. I’ve had a few people say coronavirus & others think possible twisted stomach, since he was a wide chested dog. He’s gone & I can’t bring him back, but I want to keep our fur kids & humans in home safe. Any tips other than what we are doing? Should I look at some type of vaccine for other dogs or products to help immune systems? Thank you for taking time to read. Any input & help, I greatly appreciate!!

    1. Hello Danielle, There is no vaccine for the nCovid-19 virus. The canine coronavirus isn’t the same as nCovid 19. Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets become ill with COVID-19 or that they can spread COVID-19 to other animals, including people. Unfortunately without being able to do a necropsy on the deceased pet, there really isn’t any way to know to the cause of death. I’m so sorry you went through this. I can tell you did everything you could to help. Also, if you have any additional concerns about vaccinating for Corona, you can speak to your vet and they can let you know whether or not it’s a concern in your area. -Sheryl at Revival

    2. So incredibly sad. Doubly so, since you have no explanation. I’m so sorry for you having this outcome, after trying so hard to do all the right things. You did your best. Sometimes doing our best is just not enough to prevent a bad outcome. If we have animals on our life, it’s almost certain that at some point, we will deal with things we have no control over. At this point, try to concentrate on the good times and be glad that you have the big, happy fellow in your life for the time that you did.

  9. Is novilsan effective against Covid 19? I know in the past it was used agsinst parvo. Looking to make a spray thar will not bleach every thing. Thanks

    1. Hello Karen, Nolvasan Solution is effective against Corona. I would recommend being careful using this disinfectant due it is corrosive. I’m sorry the manufacturer hasn’t provided any information regarding effectiveness against nCovid-19. I would recommend if you have any questions regarding how to use this for your needs to contact Zoetis directly at> 888-963-8471. -Sheryl at Revival

  10. Thank you for addressing this new virus. I’ve read a couple of articles on dogs having it but I was skeptical about it being transferred to humans thanks again

  11. Dr. Greer,
    Appreciate your notice / update on Covid-19 for our dogs. Of note – you might want to correct the following:
    2nd paragraph, last sentence (“However, …”) – way out of date regarding transmission of the virus. Perhaps not of that much consequence, but thought should bring to your attention

  12. I was a licensed vet tech before I was an RN/BSN and worked in an ER, often in pediatrics. There were several instances where my education and experience in the animal segment of health considerations came in as much appreciated information by both doctors and patients. Dr.Marty’s presentation of facts and the connections was very valuable, very clear, very sensible and much appreciated. Sometimes those who deal with animal health have a lot to offer parents of young children, whether there are pets in the home or not, and are more hands on practical in very real matters such as this. I recall that it was a vet (at a zoo) who was convinced that “St.Louis Encephalitis” was really West Nile virus, and eventually proved it through her own efforts. Zoonosis is part of life on Earth. Knowledge is power and protection.

  13. My cat is sinasist nose problem
    She is last Year cough and and bloody flud in nose and I can’t afford vetnirari doctor appointment plz tell me medicine or treatment I will be thankful you

    1. Hello Nasreen, We can’t prescribe anything for your sick cat since we’re not a clinic. I would recommend you contact your vet or a shelter to see if they can assist you. -Maria at Revival

  14. I have a service dog and am concerned about him having a surface contaminate on his fur after going to the store! We haven’t been anywhere yet! But in case we do go, I’m looking for a wipe I can use on him after leaving a store that would kill covid19 so that I don’t pick it up handling him!

    1. Here’s a response from Dr. Greer, “You can use a chlorhexidine wipe on his coat after you are out. There are several chlorhexidine shampoos you can use as wipes.” -Maria at Revival

  15. I heard if you get covid19, you shouldn’t get near your cat(s). To have someone in your family or friend take the cat out of your home till safe to return.
    Is this true?

    1. Here’s a response from Dr. Greer, “Avoiding contact of a dog or cat with a confirmed coronavirus patient is recommended by CDC but when you are sick, who else will hang out with you? Don’t let the dog lick you or eat your dirty Kleenex if you are sick.” -Maria at Revival

  16. Revival,
    Noticed your recommendation (possible) for vaccinating a breeding female for coronavirus. You don’t mention what though. Can you give a reccomendation for this? We normally use the 5-way solo jec for all our dogs normal vaccinations. Thanks. Don

    1. Here’s a response from Dr. Greer, “Vaccinating dogs for coronavirus – Novibac has a single vaccine or a combo.” -Maria at Revival

  17. Might want to update this since they have now confirmed the tiger and have 5 other big cats with the same symptoms at the zoo in Chicago (I think that’s where is is). Anyway, from what I understand, they are still uncertain as whether is can go from the animal back to humans or if only f Rey in human to animal. But the fagg Cd t that it cannot be transferred is incorrrect.

    1. Hello Nancy, We currently have no plans to update our article until more information comes out about the tiger in the Bronx Zoo. Thank you. -Maria at Revival

  18. Has any of the opinions in this article changed since the tigers have Been found to test positive with covid -19. Was it indeed Covid-19 or was it the feline or canine form of corona virus? I don’t trust the media much.
    Do you only recommend giving breeding stock the corona virus vaccine and not pets. If so why ?

    1. Hello Kelly, Until more information comes out about the tiger, we will not be making any updates to this blog post at this time. As for your vaccine questions, we always recommend you speak to your vet about the coronavirus vaccine in your area. They’ll be able to let you know if it’s necessary for your location. -Maria at Revival

  19. Do you know if Covid19 can be passed to humans from the hair of dogs or cats? Ie If you pet a dog, can you get the virus from it’s coat?

  20. You mention you don’t recommend vaccinatingbsll of your dogs for Corona. I have a 70 dog kennel and vaccinate everything for Corona, including DC ingb7 week old puppies. Am I going it wrong? Thank you.

    1. Hello Debra, If you’re not having any issues vaccinating the way you are or if your vet has recommended this protocol for you, then I would recommend you keep doing what you’re doing. We usually don’t recommend giving a combination vaccine containing lepto or corona until 10-14 wks of age or older. They have fewer vaccine reactions when it’s given at an older age. We usually just recommend a 5-way at 6 and 8 wks, then you can follow with a combination with lepto or corona at 10-12 wks. This is only a recommendation we give to your customers. -Sheryl at Revival

  21. Hi Dr Marty, nice to “see” you and thank you for your comments.

    CDC is (or was) advising that quarantine should be away from all pets as well as humans, and they aren’t explaining their stance. Further reading leads me to understand that this is solely because animals, especially furry ones, can carry any virus, including COVID-19, on their coats and for that reason should not go from household member in quarantine to another household member. CDC does NOT believe that our pets can become infected themselves and transmit the virus to us by becoming sick. I think this a very important part of the puzzle to display prominently in their explanation.

    Can you comment on this, please? Is there a way we could get the CDC to reconsider their wording so that people don’t dump their pets because they are terrified that their pets may get sick and give them the virus?

  22. It’s been reported that folk’s here were starting to abandon their pets for fear of the virus. Sad. Some are giving up their pets as can’t afford their food,etc. These pets (dogs and cats) have been faithful thru good times and bad. Don’t give up on them now!

  23. Thank you so much for explaining everything
    It has helped me understand a little betterThis has been a scary time and I worry about my pet .Iam 71 and have always tried to keep me and my boy healthy
    I feel so much better now after listening to you again Thank You
    Yevette

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