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Should you worry about contracting COVID-19 from your pets?

Dr. Courtney Tewary of Bellaire Richmond Pet Hospital says not right now.

MIDLAND, Texas — With the news that a tiger from the Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19, the next question became whether or not the virus could spread from an animal to a human.

In the case of the tiger, a human passed on the virus to the tiger. But should we worry about transmission going the other way?

Dr. Courtney Tewary of the Bellaire Richmond Pet Hospital in Houston says maybe not yet. She doesn't think this is any reason for us to worry about the spread of COVID-19 from our pets to us.

"I don’t think it’s a reason for people to be afraid of their cat with it transferring possibly back and forth. I think it’s more of a public health concern like if the owner, the human is sick, just making sure that you’re decreasing your exposure to your pets,” Dr. Tewary said.

She does recommend that if your pet is exhibiting symptoms such as coughing, lethargy, and fever among other things to bring your pet to the vet.

"I think if they believe that their cat or their pet is exhibiting clinical signs of coughing and fever, I still think that pet should be taken to a veterinary clinic and placed in isolation, you know the 24-hour animal hospital and get supportive care through that way," Dr. Tewary said.

She also says that if either you or your pet are sick, you should avoid hugging or kissing your pet. You should also avoid sharing any food with your pet. If you happen to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, Dr. Tewary also recommends that you have someone healthy take your pet to the vet.

And as with humans, there isn't a definitive cure for the virus at this point in time. Vets can only treat symptoms.

"You know there’s no really specific medication like an antiviral. It’s really just supportive care, so making sure that they’re eating, providing them with fluids, and giving them some type of feeding tube to make sure that their energy is high and they’re staying strong and providing them medication to help their symptoms," Dr. Tewary said

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