COVID-19

First dog in NSW contracts Covid-19

Symptoms in pets are reported to be similar to ones felt by people, including tiredness and a lack of appetite, but the RSPCA’s senior scientific officer Sarah Zito played down the impacts.Dr Zito said there have been “quite a few” overseas reports of owners passing on Covid-19 to their pets, but “they don’t usually show signs and the effects tend to be very mild”.“Pet owners should take precautions, but they shouldn’t be too worried,” she said.Bundeena man Todd O’Mara was isolating with the virus when his one-year-old shih tzu Hamilton was breathless and showed symptoms of what appeared to be gastroenteritis — vomiting and diarrhoea. “We didn’t know what it was but it got progressively worse, he stopped eating,” Mr O’Mara said. Scared for his dog’s life, Mr O’Mara took him into Southern Cross Veterinary Clinic in St Peters and, after multiple tests, Hamilton spent the night in an after-hours clinic.Following more testing, his swab came back positive for SARS-COV-2, the virus which causes Covid-19 in humans.Daily Telegraph – News Feed latest episode“Luckily at this point he was already improving with supportive treatment,” said vet Sam Kovac from the Southern Cross Veterinary Clinic.“I’m confident we have treated the first case of Covid in a dog in the state, not the canine coronavirus that has been in dogs for decades but the same Covid-19 that affects humans.”RSPCA NSW told The Daily Telegraph no dog cases had been brought to any of its sites.A regular rapid antigen test can be used to test for Covid-19 in dogs and cats, but Dr Kovac recommended owners take their pet to the vet to conduct the test, warning if done incorrectly “they could cause injury to delicate sinus structures”. Dr Zito advised owners with Covid to limit contact with their pets. and to “preferably get someone else to take care of them”.After a week of worry, Mr O’Mara said Hamilton was back to normal.

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