The coronavirus (2019-CoV), which officials believe started in Wuhan’s live animal market, has spread to 21 countries and affected 7,900 people, claiming the lives of 170.
The live market is closed and under investigation but the virus is spreading at a rapid rate. The incurable virus is extremely contagious and can be passed from mammal to mammal, which means it can pass from humans to dogs.
China’s top expert for infectious diseases, Prof. Li Lanquan, warned pet owners that dogs and cats can become infected by the virus.
However, The World Health Organization has not yet seen or heard of any dogs or cats with the virus. As people wait in long lines to purchase protective masks for themselves, concerned dog parents are rushing to buy masks for their beloved pets.
Zhou Tianxiao started selling air filter masks for dog a couple years ago on Chinese e-commerce site to help with the smog. Since the outbreak, he told MailOnline he went from selling 150 masks per month to at least 50 a day.
Prof. Li Lanquan said, “In this epidemic season, pet owners should strengthen their management of their pets.
“If your dogs run around outside and come to contact with the outbreak or people infected with the virus, then your pets should also be put in quarantine.
“Because the epidemic spreads between mammals, therefore we should take precaution against other mammals.”
People are advised to wash their hands frequently. The virus can be spread by an infectious person sneezing or coughing. The unique virus is a string that scientists have not seen before and warn people to avoid those who are infected.
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However, an infected person may not show signs for days but can still spread the virus. Common symptoms in humans are cough, high fever, and sore throat. Dogs usually contract the virus by eating contaminated fecal matter but can become infected by coming in contact with another infected animal. Protective masks prevent dogs from eating fecal matter and touching noses with other animals.
The most prevalent symptom in dogs is diarrhea, but can easily be confused for other viruses. If your dog has diarrhea for more than 24 hours, you should contact your vet.
Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said, “Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we’re talking about a virus where we don’t understand fully the severity spectrum but it’s possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.”
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