Experts from the University of Washington have conducted a study where they have found that around 23 dogs have been tested positive for COVID19 antibodies. The officials from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (USDA) have said that they have received a confirmation of a study showing the evidence of animals being exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The SARS-CoV-2 virus leads to COVID19 disease, said the experts. The study is called the COVID19 and Pet Study. It has been done by experts from the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (WADDL) at the Center for One Health Research of Washington State University. Experts have said that although these are the first cases of pet testing positive for COVID19 antibodies, they are not the first in the United States. Many pet animals have been found to have COVID19 antibodies nationwide. The WADDL has informed that state authorities that antibodies for the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been detected in animal samples that show that pets as well have been infected with the virus. Soon after antibodies have been detected in the animal samples, these samples have been sent to the USDA National Veterinary Service Laboratory for further confirmation.
The director of the UW Center for One Health Research and the lead author of the study, Dr. Peter Rabinowitz has said that the findings of the study have shown that people who are infected with the virus can infect the animals that are living in the same household. The lead author of the study has said that people who are infected with the virus should take preventive measures to reduce the risk of passing on the virus to their pets. Dr. Rabinowitz has said that his team will continue this study as the vaccine rollout program is taking place across the country. Experts will keep a close watch on whether there is a change in the spread of the virus inside the household. The authors of the study have said that they have tested nearly 50 animal samples in the new study. It shows that human-to-dog transmission has been taking place quite rapidly in many households. Dr. Peter Rabinowitz has said that many dog owners have said that their pet dogs have been showing signs of the COVID19 disease. Therefore, it proves that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can make dogs sick, said the expert.
At the same time, a spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Agriculture, Hector Castor has said that though dogs have been showing signs of being exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, it does not confirm that they have been infected with the viral infection. He has said that the findings of the study should serve as a reminder for pet owners to take precautions if they test positive for COVID19. The officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said that a small number of pet dogs and cats have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus apparently in many different countries. On the one hand, many animals have been diagnosed with the virus across the US and on the other hand, the officials from the CDC and USDA have said that they have not been able to find any evidence that can confirm that animals can play a crucial role in spreading the virus in humans.