Coronavirus in dogs and cats: an old publicity of veterinary medicine

Now the corona virus has reached us too. The population is increasingly nervous. The rumor is cooking. Many pet owners are more and more uneasy, because many of them have already encountered the corona virus in connection with their pet and are now worried about their own health. In this item, I would like to enlighten you about the coronavirus infection in our pets and dispel some rumors.

Should I be concerned if my cat is FCoV (feline coronavirus) positive?

No! Let’s all take a deep breath. Feline coronavirus infection is a well-known disease of domestic cats. It should not be equated with the newly emerged COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). Feline corona virus belongs to the inauguration corona viruses (CoV-2 is a beta corona virus) and is only dangerous for animals.

Feline coronavirus has 2 different manifestations. Once the harmless feline enteric coronavirus (FECV), which primarily causes gastrointestinal symptoms and is publicized as “diarrheal pathogens” and once the dreaded feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV). Many cat owners are familiar with this boogeyman, because a FIP infection unfortunately still leads to the cat’s death today.

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is caused by a spontaneous mutation of the feline coronavirus (FCoV) and causes the virus to massively multiply in macrophages (immune system cells). Macrophages infected with the mutated viruses release inflammatory mediators, which in turn trigger massive inflammation in the cat’s body.

Blood vessels become inflamed due to the ratio of antibodies formed and effusions develop in body cavities. Cats look like a pear with 4 legs due to their stomach full of liquid. Unfortunately, once FIP has broken out, the disease is infallible for the cat.

However, there is hope that an effective drug will appear on the market in a few years. The nucleoside analogue GS441524 performed well in early studies. But again! Lift FPV is not dangerous for humans. Unfortunately, cats do, but that’s nothing new.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend intranasal vaccination for cats either, as the study situation here is anything but clear. Preventive measures are limited to reducing the infection pressure. Exactly like what they are trying to do with people with Covid-19 right now.

This means: cats that are Corona positive must not come into contact with negative cats and “overpopulations” in which viruses are wildly exchanged with each other must be avoided. Cat litter boxes should be cleaned regularly.

By the way, corona viruses also exist in other animal species. There are corona viruses in dogs (CCoV, CCV), which cause bloody diarrhea. Equine coronavirus (ECoV), with a variety of symptoms. Corona virus in cattle and wild ruminants (BCoV), which leads to gastrointestinal and respiratory tract disorders.

And porcine coronaviruses (TGE), also a pathogen of diarrhea. None of them have anything to do with the coronavirus, which is currently causing human disease (CoV-2). CoV-2 is a beta corona virus, corona viruses in our pets are inauguration corona viruses (horses are the exception). This is why, unfortunately, vaccines for cats, cattle and pigs (inauguration corona virus) do not help us humans (beta corona virus).

Dear farmers – if you are reading me, please avoid self-injections! (The Internet is already full of these self-experiences). Sadly, I also have to disappoint pet owners who come into my office hours and want FIP ​​vaccines for themselves!

They don’t work! According to the virologist at the University of Munich, no cross-exemption is expected due to the differences between the inauguration and beta corona viruses. However, a vaccination against CoV-2 is being worked on at full speed.

Can a dog really transmit CoV-2 (coronavirus)?

No! But few CoV-2 viruses could be detected in a dog. But the dog’s owner was sick with Covid-19 and contamination is presumed. Soon – the sick person touched the dog and it was bad the virus got the dog.

The dog itself did not have COVID-19. Prof. Nowotny from Vetmeduni Vienna: “At the moment, there is no evidence that pets, such as dogs or cats, can catch or transmit the virus. Transmission from dogs to humans or vice versa, from humans to dogs, is considered impossible. Therefore, no special protective measures are needed regarding our pets.”

Incidentally, the virus does not survive long in the air. However, washing your hands after petting a critter must be a natural thing anyway.

What animal transmitted the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

We don’t know that yet. CoV-2 is a new virus. But not because governments want to distract from who knows what – no – simply because the virus is “new” and we still can’t know many relevant aspects. Virology specialists are only “in the know”. But there’s no reason to panic right now!

Because what we already know a lot is that the virus (CoV-2) has a low mortality rate. Yes, people get sick. But luckily, most gradients are light to light. However, there are still many unanswered questions. One is precisely that of the transmission path.

The BVL (Federalist Food Safety and Veterinary Office): “… It should also remain evident that the reservoir (origin or intermediate host) of the virus has not yet been clearly determined. So at the moment we cannot say with certainty which animal species, if any, would be affected.

However, the reservoir tends to be exotic wildlife; this virus probably originated in a species of bat…” I recommend washing your hands a lot after any contact with animals.

Outcome on the coronavirus in dogs and cats

The well-known corona viruses of our pets are not to be equated with the CoV-2 virus, which leads to coronavirus disease 19 in humans. There is currently no evidence that pets have transmitted the virus. The reservoir is suspected of wildlife. However, wash your hands thoroughly after any contact with animals. There is no need to panic because fortunately most CoV-2 infections have mild to mild symptoms.

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