Can my pet be exposed to COVID-19? Veterinarians weigh in on debate.

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- There are still a number of unanswered questions when it comes to COVID-19 and one of those questions include how can it affect your pet.

Both a local and a national veterinary expert explain if your pet can be infected with coronavirus and if they can spread it to their human companions.

Though more research needs to be done, it’s highly unlikely for your pet to be infected or infect you with COVID-19.

However, all animals can carry germs.

Therefore it’s important to practice healthy habits around your pet and other animals.

“The animals themselves are not at risk of catching the disease,” said veterinarian at Pinecrest Veterinary Clinic, Karl Kapool.

There have been a hand full of cases in China where pets have been tested for COVID-19 and their blood has shone that they’ve been exposed to the virus.

In all those cases, the owner of the pets tested positive for the coronavirus and there was no evidence that the pet was ever sick.

“There is no evidence that the animals could spread it, and when you think that there have been over 1 million cases of coronavirus infections across the world and we’ve seen so few animals even test positive, that it’s really unlikely that the animals are either likely to get sick or could be a source of infection for people,” said Lori Teller.

Teller works with the America Veterinary Association and is an Associate Professor at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine.

“It is very possible for a person who has the coronavirus to sneeze or cough on their pet, a dog or cat, and those droplets get on the fur, and then someone else could come along and touch it. Right now we don’t know of any cases where it’s actually been spread that way but it is a concern,” explains Teller.

She said when you take your dog on a walk, try to avoid people petting them and if they do just wipe them down with a cloth or wet wipe when you get home.

Vetrenarian Kapool here in Johnson City says to avoid dog parks for the same reason.

“I think the recommendation for people to stay home applies to their pets. We should not be taking our animals out in public. Mainly for the person who’s with the animal not to be exposed to other people right now,” said Kapool.

According to the CDC, in the United States there has been no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19 to people.

“Right now all of the evidence shows that they cannot be a source of spreading the virus by coughing or sneezing on us,“ said Teller.

It is recomended that if you are sick to limit contact with your animal until more information ia known about this virus.

This will help ensure the safety of both you and your pet.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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