Swabs were taken from 310 pets in 196 residences where the human infection had been detected. Virus antibodies were found in six cats and seven dogs, while PCR results were found in 54 animals. “If you have Covid, you should avoid contact with your cat or dog, just as you would do with other people,” Dr. Els Broens of Utrecht University 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 indication of pet-to-owner transmission to date, though it would be impossible to detect while the virus was still easily spread between humans. The majority of pets who are infected are asymptomatic or have only minor Covid symptoms. Researchers from Utrecht University sent a mobile veterinary clinic to households in the Netherlands where Covid had been detected in the preceding 200 days.

“Blood samples were tested for antibodies that indicated a previous exposure to Covid, and swabs were taken from their pet cats and dogs to check for signs of infection. The findings were presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases:

•4.2 percent of the subjects had an active infection.

• Antibodies were discovered in 17.4 percent of the people who took part in the study.

According to follow-up investigations, all of the PCR-positive (polymerase chain reaction) animals were able to clear the infection and produce antibodies. According to researchers, viruses are more likely to go from human to animal than the other way around.”