SARS-CoV-2 infection is thought to have originally been transmitted to humans from an animal host, but the ongoing risk of transmission through animal contact is uncertain. There is no evidence suggesting animals (including domesticated animals) are a major source of infection in humans.
SARS-CoV-2 infection has been described in animals in both natural and experimental settings. There have been rare reports of animals with SARS-CoV-2 infection (including asymptomatic infections in dogs and symptomatic infections in felines) following close contact with a human with COVID-19.
Moreover, asymptomatic, experimentally infected domestic cats may transmit SARS-CoV-2 to cats they are caged with. The risk of infection may vary by species.
In one study evaluating infection in animals after intranasal viral inoculation, SARS-CoV-2 replicated efficiently in ferrets and cats; viral replication was also detected in dogs, but they appeared to be less susceptible overall to experimental infection.
Pigs and poultry were not susceptible to infection.
Mink appear highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2; outbreaks on mink farms have been reported in Europe and the United States, and in this setting, suspected cases of mink to human transmission have been described, including cases with SARS-CoV-2 variants that appear less susceptible to neutralizing antibodies to wild-type virus [170-172]. In view of these findings, mink on farms in both the Netherlands and Denmark have been, or are being, culled.
Given the uncertainty regarding the transmission risk and the apparent susceptibility of some animals to SARS-CoV-2 infection, the United States CDC recommends that pets be kept away from other animals or people outside of the household and that people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 try to avoid close contact with household pets, as they should with human household members, for the duration of their self-isolation period. There have been no reports of domesticated animals (other than mink) transmitting SARS-CoV-2 infection to humans.
*Healthcare information taken from a reliable peer-reviewed medical website.