As the world and our lives have been turned upside down by the Coronavirus pandemic, we have received many questions about the risk that animals may pose in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Although our knowledge of this virus is constantly evolving, there is currently no evidence to indicate that animals are contributing to the transmission of this virus.
A handful of animals have tested positive for the virus — a dog in Hong Kong, a tiger in the Bronx Zoo and a handful of house cats. Most of these animals showed no symptoms of disease, although a few cats were tested due to the presence of mild respiratory symptoms. The virus was found to be present in these animals, but there is no evidence that the virus can replicate and transmit back to a human.
While there is no reason to fear animal contact, good hygiene including regular handwashing is recommended following animal handling because animals can carry many other potentially zoonotic (animal to human transmitted) diseases.