With the Government ramping up efforts to increase the number of vaccines available to the UK human population, some scientists are suggesting that it’s “not unthinkable” that a vaccine for domestic animals who can be affected by coronavirus could be needed one day to suppress the spread of the virus.
According to experts from the University of East Anglia (UEA), the Earlham Institute (a Norwich-based research facility) and the University of Minnesota, coronavirus can affect a wide range of animal species including cats, dogs, and minks.
In Denmark, millions of minks were culled last year following an outbreak of coronavirus related to farmed mink, which has led to great unrest in the country. These same experts penned an editorial in which they suggested potential mutations of the virus in animals could pose a future risk to the human population.
Russia has recently announced its scientists were close to completing clinical trials on a COVID-19 vaccine for minks and domestic animals like cats, details of which have not been made public.
There’s still not much evidence to suggest how many pets have been infected with COVID-19 and those that have been reported on, had mild to no symptoms. Experts have said there are no known cases where coronavirus has been transmitted to humans from cats and dogs.
Catherine Corden-Parry wants pet owners to remember that with no current evidence to suggest domestic pets pose a significant threat, it’s important not to panic when they see ‘expert news’ like this. There’s certainly no need to consider parting with a beloved pet based on these experts’ comments.
People should continue to follow the UK Government’s advice about social distancing, wearing masks, using hand gel, and staying home as much as possible when instructed to do so.
Catherine also recommends that pet owners should always wash their hands before and after handling pets and their bedding, bowls and toys, not just while there’s a pandemic. Pets can pick up all kinds of bacteria, parasites, and dirt, so it’s important to practice good hygiene at all times.
If a pet vaccine for COVID-19 does ever become a reality in the UK, pet owners can rest assured that the veterinary industry will be following the situation very closely.