Dog Recovering After Catching COVID From Owners in 'Very Rare' Case

A pet dog in the U.K. has been diagnosed with COVID, health authorities have confirmed.

All available evidence suggests that the dog contracted the illness from its owners who had previously tested positive for COVID, according to a U.K. government press release.

The dog's case was confirmed by the U.K. chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss following tests on November 3.

The pet was undergoing treatment for another unrelated condition at the time and is now said to be recovering at home.

There is no evidence to suggest that the dog transferred the disease to its owners.

"It is very rare for dogs to be infected and they will usually only show mild clinical signs and recover within a few days," Middlemiss said in a statement. "There is no clear evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans.

"We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will update our guidance to pet owners should the situation change."

Dr Katherine Russell, a consultant medical epidemiologist at the UK's Health Security Agency, said COVID could sometimes spread from people to pets and owners should wash their hands regularly, "including before and after contact with animals."

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration has stated that routine COVID testing of pets is not recommended as of October 26.

Its website states: "There is currently no evidence that animals are a source of COVID-19 infection in the United States. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of pets spreading the virus is considered to be low."

The FDA adds that the virus "can spread from people to animals including pets in some situations, mostly during close contact. If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets and other animals."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published guidance on what to do if you suspect that your pet has COVID. People are advised to call their veterinarian rather than to visit the clinic.

Last month, authorities in Michigan reported the state's first case of COVID in a domestic animal—a shorthair cat from Ingham County.

As with the dog in the U.K., the cat is said to have contracted the illness from its owners. Health officials said it had been sneezing before its diagnosis but had since recovered.

In a press release, the Michigan government said there had been 257 confirmed cases of COVID in animals throughout the U.S. from the start of the pandemic up to October 18 this year.

Dr Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said in the press release: "Protecting pets begins by taking precautions to protect yourself by getting one of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines."

Dog with vet
Stock photo of a dog on a vet's table. Wavebreakmedia/Getty