Swabs were obtained from 310 pets in 196 households where the presence of human infection had been discovered. Six cats and seven dogs tested positive for viral antibodies, while 54 animals tested positive for PCR results. “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.”

According to the study’s authors, there has been no evidence of pet-to-owner transmission to date, although it would be impossible to detect while the virus was still easily shared between humans. The majority of affected pets are asymptomatic or have minimal Covid symptoms. Utrecht University researchers sent a mobile veterinary clinic to homes in the Netherlands that had tested positive for Covid in the previous 200 days.

“Blood samples were analyzed for antibodies suggesting a past exposure to Covid, while swabs were collected from their pet cats and dogs to check for indications of a present infection. At the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, the findings were presented:

• A current infection was found in 4.2 percent of the participants.

• Antibodies were found in 17.4 percent of the participants.

All of the PCR-positive (polymerase chain reaction) animals eradicated the infection and developed antibodies, according to follow-up studies. According to the experts, viral transmission is most likely to go from human to animal rather than the other way around.”