Tips for ‘pet disinfection’ amid Wuhan virus outbreak

Cats, dogs unaffected by coronaviruses that can infect humans: World Small Animal Veterinary Association

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Masked cat model (Twitter, meetissai photo)

Masked cat model (Twitter, meetissai photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Taiwanese veterinarian has offered some tips for ‘pet disinfection’ to those worried their furkids might contract the potential lethally Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), though this fear has been debunked.

Since the outbreak of the virus, rumors have circulated in China that domestic cats and dogs may become vectors after Chinese epidemiologist Li Lianjuan (李蘭娟) warned these animals could be infected with the disease. This assertion, however, has been discredited by experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), which has said there is no evidence that suggests pets can contract the virus.

Echoing the opinion of WHO as well as the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), Taiwanese veterinarian Chen Yu-ching (陳郁晴) noted that the types of coronavirus that can infect humans are completely different from those found in canines and felines. Rebutting the rumor, she urged pet owners to be sensible and not panic, wrote Liberty Times.

Pet owners who are still concerned are advised to clean their four-legged friends after a walk with a wet cloth or use alcohol pads to disinfect their paws. She cautioned against spraying alcohol in order to avoid poisoning their pet or causing an allergic reaction.

The rumor of infected pets stemming from the virus outbreak has triggered fears across China, and photos have surfaced featuring mask-wearing cats and dogs. There have also been reports of mass dog killings in places like Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province, which provoked a public outcry.