The first dog in Louisiana has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a press release from the Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
The pet tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.
“Initially, it was believed pets could not get the disease, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now learning that animals can be infected,” said Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.
Officials do not believe that pets play a significant role in spreading the virus. Strain cautioned owners not to surrender or abandon pets due to the concern of spreading coronavirus.
“It appears that people with COVID-19 can spread the virus to animals during close contact,” Strain said. “It is important for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to avoid contact with pets and other animals to protect them from possible infection. At this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended.”
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“If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, allow a family member or close friend to care for your pets. If no one is available, maintain a safe distance from your pet and frequently wash your hands before and after contact with your pet, their food and supplies,” said Strain.