(CBS DETROIT)– COVID-19 has been detected in some zoo animals, but what about our four legged friends, can they be infected with the virus.

“Millions of pets nationwide and documented cases that are less than a handful,” said Mark Kumpf, Director Detroit Animal Care for the city of Detroit.

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According to the CDC a very small number of cats and dogs have been infected with COVID-19 worldwide and the risk of spreading the virus from animals to people is low.

However; people can spread the virus to animals.

“With any disease if you’re showing symptoms limit your contact with both two and four-legged family members to ensure that you don’t even present the possibility of passing that on,” Kumpf said.

Recent data shows some zoo animals are more susceptible to contacting COVID. In response The Detroit Zoo this week started vaccinating those animals, but are COVID vaccines needed now for household pets?

“At this time the US Department of Agriculture and the CDC and other global regulatory bodies have determined that there’s not a need for a vaccine, a COVID vaccine for cats and dogs,” said Christina Lood, Sr. Director, Sustainability & Innovation Communications for Zoetis.

Zoetis, the animal pharmaceutical company that donated COVID vaccines for use in zoo animals says, they started working on a vaccine for cats and dogs, as soon as the virus was detected in a dog in Hong, Kong in February 20-20. And when and if the time comes they are prepared to vaccines to cats and dogs.

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Until that time, the CDC recommends the following to protect pets from COVID

 

 

  • Pet owners and every eligible person in the household should get vaccinated.
  • People with COVID-19 should not have contact with pets.
  • Pet owners should not allow pets to have contact with unvaccinated people outside the household, if possible.

“if someone gets sick, ends up with COVID their pets may end up suffering not from the disease itself, but from the person being unable to care for them,” Kumpf said.

The CDC says serious COVID-19 symptoms in pets are rare, but if someone in the home tests positive and your pet starts to show symptoms, contact a veterinarian by phone.

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