Living with the day-to-day threat of coronavirus has become a reality for many Australians, as the nation’s outbreak worsens.
Overnight the nation’s case toll jumped 20 per cent and now sits at 297.
There are questions over whether pets are at risk, after a dog in Hong Kong reportedly tested positive for the illness.
However, vet Dr Katrina Warren told Today the fears are unfounded.
“Currently there is no evidence to say that our pets can get ill from this particular coronavirus that’s affecting humans or that we can catch it from our companion animals,” she said.
“There is one dog in Hong Kong that tested very weak positive to the coronavirus. But it hasn’t been ill.
“It hasn’t shown any symptoms. It was in close contact with owners that had the virus. They’re not 100 per cent sure. It was found in the nasal and oral cavities if perhaps it’s taken in that virus but hasn’t come unwell.”
Dr Warren said the World Health Organisation and the Australian Veterinary Association have no reason for concern, and are monitoring the situation closely.
She explained that there are many forms of coronavirus, that are unrelated to the virus that causes COVID-19.
“There are other coronaviruses. A lot of people have their very young pets vaccinated against a different coronavirus. That has nothing to do with this,” she said.
“That is causing panic. There is no vaccine for humans or animals for this coronavirus as yet for this particular type.”
She advised people to practise basic hygiene and social distancing when it comes to pets all the same.
“We do know that you know animals and humans can share some diseases – it is important,” she said.
“If you’re positive to coronavirus, it is recommended that you do try to isolate yourself from your pet.”
“Use the same kind of things we’re recommending for people. Washing your hands, no kisses, cuddles and no sharing food.
Dr Warren also said dogs and cats can help spread the disease between people.
“There is a remote possibility I have coronavirus, cough on my hand, pat my dog, you pat my dog and you get it same way as inanimate object,” she explained.
Dr Warren advised pet owners to stock up on pet supplies like food and litter should they have to go into isolation.
“Be sensible,” she urged.
“If you have a cat get kitty litter basic supplies. Don’t go out-of-control. Just think if I’m locked in for two weeks with my pets what do we need.”