Coronavirus and our pets: What’s fact? What’s fiction?

The newly touted Coronavirus (or COVID-19) is rapidly spreading across the globe. Although not confirmed, the suspected origin of this disease is said to stem from a person who consumed a bat, with the Coronavirus, in Wuhan, China late last year. The virus spreads via droplets from a cough or sneeze of a person who is infected (1). Common symptoms, if any show at all, are fever, cough, runny nose, and difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, infection leading to pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and death has been reported (2). COVID-19 targets our respiratory system and immune system. So, people with underlying respiratory or immune system issues are at a higher risk of contracting it. As you should know by now, COVID-19 is extremely contagious, almost twice as contagious as the common flu. That is what we do know.

What we don’t yet know is whether or not we can pass this virus to our pets, though new information rears its head each day. Coronavirus is a zoonotic disease, which is defined as a disease that can be spread from animals to humans. There are three confirmed cases of Coronavirus present in dogs. All of these cases are confirmed to be from China, however, it is believed that the dogs contracted it from another animal, not a human. One 17 year old Chihuahua was tested “weak-positive” for the Coronavirus and has since passed away (3). However, the dog was said to have not shown any of the symptoms for the virus. We can assume that since the dog was older in age, its immune and respiratory system was weakening. Still, there is no official proof that Coronavirus was the reason for death. So for now, we believe dogs cannot contract the virus from us (₄).

We must continue to eat healthy and supplement to keep our bodies healthy, but it is important to continue being conscious of our pets’ health in these times, too. Building our immunity, as well as our pets, is one important factor in maintaining good health. Things like Vitamins A, C, and E, antioxidants, as well as essential and non-essential fatty acids all have properties that keep animals in good health (5) Vitamins are essential for hundreds of different actions in our bodies from cell growth to converting food into energy for us to use. Great sources of these include citrus fruits, vegetables, and ginger. Antioxidants help protect your cells from sickness, cancer, and many other diseases. Apples, bananas, carrots, tomatoes, and nuts are excellent sources of antioxidants. Omega fatty acids help greatly in limiting inflammation in the body, helping improve outcomes of certain illnesses and preventing diseases from worsening (6). The best source for these omega fatty acids is hemp oil. Other good sources include fish, krill, and flaxseed oils.