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Can I get the coronavirus from my pet?

Coronavirus: Pets and COVID-19, the fears and risks
ABOVE: Fears and risks surrounding pets and COVID-19

Can I get the new coronavirus from my dog Fido or my cat Milo?

There’s no evidence domestic pets are spreading the virus to people.

However, there have been a few cases worldwide where animals likely got the virus from humans, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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A four-year-old tiger tested positive at New York City’s Bronx Zoo, and officials think a zookeeper with the virus got the feline sick. Several other lions and tigers have also tested positive at the zoo.

Two house cats in different homes in New York have also contracted the virus.

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The cats, which had mild respiratory illnesses and are expected to recover, are thought to have contracted the virus from people in their households or neighbourhoods, said the CDC.

More research is needed to determine how the coronavirus affects animals. The USDA does not recommend routine testing for pets.

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U.S. authorities, including the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, say that while it appears some animals can get the virus from people, there’s no indication pets are transmitting it to human beings.

“Now, obviously, is that impossible? I mean, biologically, no, anything is possible,” Fauci told the Associated Press. “But there’s no evidence whatsoever that we’ve seen from an epidemiological standpoint that pets can be transmitters within a household.”

The CDC is recommending that people prevent their pets from interacting with people or animals outside their homes — by keeping cats indoors and dogs out of dog parks, for instance.

If you’re sick, avoid your furry companions — just like you would with people. If you’re the sole caretaker for an animal, it’s best to wash your hands before and after interacting with them.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.