Swabs were collected from 310 pets in 196 homes where the human illness had been discovered. Six cats and seven dogs tested positive for virus antibodies, while 54 animals tested positive for PCR. “If you have Covid, you should avoid contact with your cat or dog, just as you would do with other people,” Utrecht University’s Dr. Els Broens stated. “The main concern is not the animals’ health, but the potential risk that pets could act as a reservoir of the virus and reintroduce it into the human population.”

There has been no indication of pet-to-owner transmission to date, according to the study’s authors, though it would be impossible to detect while the virus was still easily spread between humans. The majority of affected pets are asymptomatic or show only modest signs of Covid. Utrecht University researchers sent a mobile veterinary clinic to homes in the Netherlands where Covid had been identified in the previous 200 days.

“Blood samples were analyzed for antibodies that suggested a previous exposure to Covid, and swabs from their pets were obtained to look for evidence of infection. The researchers presented their findings at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases:

• An active infection was found in 4.2 percent of the participants.

• Antibodies were found in 17.4 percent of those who participated in the study.

All of the PCR-positive (polymerase chain reaction) animals were able to eliminate the infection and develop antibodies, according to follow-up tests. Viruses are more likely to go from humans to animals than the other way around, according to researchers.”