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Coronavirus and household pets, experts weigh in

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Sunday we learned about the first case of Coronavirus in an animal. Nadia, a 4-year-old tiger at the Bronx Zoo, is the first animal known to have the virus. Still, experts say there is no conclusive evidence that this can spread through household pets, according to veterinarian Dr. Jean Meade.

"There is very little evidence that dogs can actually get sick from the disease, there has been some evidence that cats may be more susceptible to the viral infection than dogs. But we still have not seen true infection in cats."

Dr. Jean Meade, Veterinarian & Physician at Cheat Lake Animal Hospital 

Although there is little science behind animal to human transmission, Dr. Meade says pets can still transfer germs from the Coronavirus through humans in other ways.

She said that coughs, sneezes, and even touching your pets can potentially cause animals to pass the virus. As the germs can be stuck on their coats or in their nasal secretions. Dr. Meade said it could be similar to passing a plate or a glass that has germs on it.

Officials say even though the risk of passing it from humans to pets and pets to humans doesn't look significant, we should remain cautious, according to West Virginia State Health Officer Dr. Cathy Slemp.

"There is a recommendation that if you are sick with COVID-19 or you think you have COVID-19 to just actually stay away from your pets and dogs. In case there could be transmission back to them."

Dr. Cathy Slemp, West Virginia State Health Officer

Dr. Meade says that you should social distance from your pets if you feel any sort of respiratory illness and have arrangements for someone else to care for your pet.

Brandon Lawson

Weekend Meteorologist

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