A recent study reports that an increasing case of animal abuse is arising due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Some owners have chosen to abandon their house pets out of fear that their pets might catch the virus.
Although there have been a few cases of housepets contracting the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that there is no clear evidence that animals play a meaningful role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
Others have found themselves unemployed due to the closing of the economy brought about by the lockdown. Many have deemed themselves incapable of taking good care of their pets.
Meanwhile, in China, many residents were forced to leave their pets behind when they were asked to evacuate their areas.
In her study, Nicola Parry from Midwest Veterinary Pathology in Lafayette, a veterinary pathology consultant, analyzes the reported effect that the coronavirus has had on house pets, particularly in Hong Kong and Belgium.
According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Parry's paper has gathered vital information around the relationship between pets and the coronavirus. The society adds that there has been a lot of concern regarding animals since the pandemic started, which is why the study was indeed beneficial.
The RSPCA hopes that the study will aid in providing further reassurance that, as of the present, there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted from pets to humans.
Parry's study was published in the journal Forensic Science International: Reports.
Not Enough Evidence to Prove That Pets Can Transmit Coronavirus to Humans
The involvement of pets in the coronavirus surge started when a 17-year-old male Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong first tested positive for the coronavirus.
Since then, Hong Kong has reported three cases of pets being infected with the virus, two dogs, and a cat. Meanwhile, in Belgium, one cat became infected.
In all of the cases, experts believe that the pets had gotten the virus from their owners, who were first to catch the virus.
The Belgian case, which originated from the Liège province in March 2020, was recognizable from the other three instances since the cat manifested symptoms of the virus, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty in breathing.
According to Parry, although the cat in Belgium displayed symptoms of the disease, it wasn't enough to conclude that the feline had a certain SARS-CoV-2 infection.
She adds that the clinical signs the cat manifested were relatively non-specific and can appear in cats due to an array of different conditions.
The COVID-19 Pandemic is Hard on Animals Too
After the initial outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, the authorities evacuated many people from their homes. Reports say that since homeowners were not sure of when they were to return due to the uncertainty of the situation, they only left their pets with a few days' worth of food and water.
Animal welfare organizations in China have estimated that tens of thousands of abandoned pets face starvation and death in their homes alone in the Hubei province.
According to Parry, some of the reasons for pet abandonment include being unable to afford continuing to care for their pets due to unemployment and having the fear that their pets might transmit the coronavirus to them.
On a positive note, with many people now being confined to their homes during the pandemic, the rate of pet adoptions at many shelters have also gone up, almost canceling out the high chances of abandonment, she adds.
The RSPCA urges pet owners to take sensible precautions around their pets. The society advises to thoroughly hand wash after interacting with pets and avoid being kissed or licked by them. Furthermore, they caution people not to touch strange animals outside your home.