These Are the Pets Most Likely to Get Coronavirus

According to the CDC, ferrets and cats are at particular risk for coronavirus.

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It's not just humans who are susceptible to coronavirus. In recent months, members of the animal kingdom, including tigers and dogs, have similarly tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. However, there's yet another surprising animal that may be at particular risk for contracting coronavirus: ferrets.

While dogs' social nature may increase their risk of coming into contact with someone infected with coronavirus, a new video from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that ferrets are actually more likely to catch the virus that causes COVID-19. According to a May study published in Science, dogs are at relatively low risk of developing coronavirus and "appeared not to support viral replication well."

However, both ferrets and cats showed increased susceptibility to the virus, with cats being particularly vulnerable to airborne transmission. While ferrets were deemed more likely to catch coronavirus than dogs, who are only mildly susceptible, and chickens, ducks, and pigs, who were deemed to have no risk of catching coronavirus, the cases of coronavirus in the ferrets studied were less severe than those identified in humans. Though coronavirus in humans has been linked to a wide range of serious symptoms, including organ failure and death, researchers found that the virus "can replicate in the upper respiratory tract of ferrets for up to eight days without causing severe disease or death."

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"The signs that we are seeing in these pets with COVID is very mild respiratory [symptoms] and they are making a full recovery," says Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM, a veterinary consultant for DogLab.com.

That said, just because your pets aren't likely to become gravely ill from coronavirus doesn't mean you shouldn't take precautions if you become sick. "If you are positive for COVID-19, it would be best for someone else in the family to take care of the pets," says Ochoa. If you don't have someone else who can watch your pets for you, "Limit your contact with them by putting them in another room or placing a baby gate between you and them," she suggests. And for more insight into how the virus could affect your four-legged friends, check out these 7 Coronavirus Pet Facts That Every Owner Needs to Know.

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