Can dogs & cats get coronavirus?
What a week the world has had - hope you are well. Here’s what I’ve learned from the experts on Metafact:
Dogs & cats can get coronavirus but no evidence they can spread it…
With ~471million dogs as pets and 373 million cats, pet owners worldwide got very worried last week, as it was reported that a Pomeranian in Hong Kong testing ‘weakly positive’ for SARS-CoV-2. The dog’s owner was positive for the virus and the dog was taken to a nearby animal quarantine facility.
Can dogs get coronavirus? I asked Professor John Brownlie, a veterinary pathologist from the Royal Veterinary College in London who studies viruses in dogs:
Yes, they can get coronaviruses. They can become infected with an alpha coronavirus which causes diarrhoea (a vaccine is commercially available) and, in 2003, we discovered a new coronavirus, a beta coronavirus, that we named Canine respiratory Coronavirus (CRCoV). It caused severe respiratory disease in dogs and was rapidly transmitted between dogs in kennels. We have also made a vaccine that is yet to be released. It is similar to both SARS virus and COVID-19 virus but NOT the same virus. There has been no indications, as yet, that this is transmissible to humans, even amongst kennel staff amid the canine infectious respiratory disease (CURD) outbreak. (Full answer here)
Can dogs spread it to owners?
In our experience, this has, and does, NOT happen. Thus dogs should not be culled in the face of human beta-coronavirus outbreaks (like COVID-19).
What about cats?
I asked Dr Farina Mustaffa Kamal, a researcher who studies cat coronaviruses:
Yes, cats can get coronavirus, but it is the different coronavirus from the ongoing outbreak and this feline coronavirus is species-specific. There is no evidence that the feline coronavirus can jump to human or other species. As for the newly-emerging SARS-CoV2, there is no reports on cats can contract the virus from human. Even if they do, it is doubtful that the virus can replicate efficiently as the receptor is species-specific.
Should we avoid our pets?
You are more likely to give your pet SARS-CoV2 than the other way around - so take the same precautions as you for human interaction as I wrote earlier here. For bats on the other hand - stay away says Dr Leyi Wang, a veterinary virus expert from University of Illinois:
In terms of other animals, since the COVID-19 coronavirus is very similar to bat coronavirus, it is better to avoid contact with bats. Bats are also reservoir for rabies virus, that is another reason to avoid them.
Kombucha isn’t needed for healthy people
The aisles of kombucha drinks in supermarkets seem to be growing - with all sorts of claims being made by companies to help our microbiome. I asked Dr Hannah Wardill, a microbiome expert from the University of Adelaide:
Kombucha and other fermented products certainly help in supporting a healthy and diverse microbiota. There are unlikely to be any negative implications for a healthy person consuming kombucha, but if you are generally healthy and eat a balanced diet, there is no reason to actively consume it to promote health. A healthy and diverse diet that is primary plant based (and high in fibre) is still the simplest and more affordable way to maintain gut health :)
Good news - Dementia rates are falling
Judging by family birthday parties, dementia seems to be getting more prevalent. Unhelpfully, news often fuels this perception of a dystopian inevitable future for younger generations. But are we any more likely to suffer dementia than were those from our parents’ generation?
We asked this question to 7 dementia experts and 100% agreed on quite the opposite: Dementia rates are declining. And yet, our perception may be right - more people do live with it in today’s world than ever before. We asked our resident neuroscientist Pablo Izquierdo from University College London to summarise. You can read his expert consensus here.
Notes and Reminders
Last month we had a tight vote on the topics you want us to investigate for an upcoming member review. Vaping won - so we will plan to deep dive with experts on that soon. We’d like to investigate and publish member reviews for all those topics - but need more members to make that happen! If you think a friend or family member would like to become a member - they can here.
Stay safe and may the facts be with you!
Ben McNeil, Founder of Metafact
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