NEWS-OPINION: The Guardian newspaper has reported that the Hong Kong authorities have warned residents not to kiss their companion animals after a single dog was found to test a week positive for Covid-19. I have written about this recently (click for the article).
My understanding is, based on reports, that the virus had lodged in this dog’s nasal and oral passages but did not, scientifically speaking, infected the animal by getting into the animal’s body tissues or bloodstream. Nonetheless, I suppose technically, the virus could be transmitted from this dog to a person and it is likely that the dog received the virus from a surface or another person.
In any case the advice is not to kiss your companion animal for this reason. I suppose it makes sense but the report wisely states that people should not panic or in any way do something which is contrary to their companion animal’s welfare. This is because at this stage it is believed by the experts that domestic cats and dogs cannot contract the disease and therefore cannot transmit it to people. I think this actually work in progress but nonetheless people should proceed on that basis.
I suppose, also, people should avoid their dog licking their faces. Just to be safe. The same might apply to cats but I have not read anything about this. It’s about taking precautions and being sensible.
I am, however, acutely aware that any article on this subject in respect of companion animals risks inciting further fear into people who may overreact and in some way do something silly which might harm their animal companion. It is vital that this should not happen. It is simply a warning to be careful and sensible, no more.
You may have read about the horror stories of companion animal caretakers in Wuhan, China throwing companion animals out of high-rise apartments and in other cases abandoning their domestic cats in apartments without sustenance. These are panicked individuals doing the wrong thing. I understand the cause of their behaviour but it is wrong on a scientific basis and wrong on a moral basis.
IF YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT YOUR COMPANION ANIMAL ASK A VETERINARIAN. PLEASE BASE ALL YOU DO ON SCIENCE NOT ON EMOTION.