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How does COVID‑19 affect our household pets?

Closeup of a cat and small dog cuddling with one another.

As the COVID-19 omicron variant continues to spread rapidly across the United States, some pet owners may be wondering how the virus will affect their favorite furry friend.

According to a recent conversation the fictional feline Dr. universe had with Dr. Raelynn Farnsworth, a veterinarian at Washington State University, the risk of household pets spreading the COVID-19 virus to humans currently seems to be very low. But a human who has the virus could potentially spread it to an animal, like a cat or dog, if they’ve been in close contact.

Previous research conducted at WSU and elsewhere shows cats and dogs typically don’t show the same symptoms humans get from the virus, such as sneezing, a runny nose, watery eyes or fever, but they will sometimes test positive for antibodies to the virus, which their bodies use to fight off any future disease.

Visit the Ask Dr. Universe website to read the full article exploring the subject of COVID-19 and pets and for answers to more questions from curious elementary and middle school students.

More information about the transmission of COVID-19 in humans and how to stay safe is available on the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 website.

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