How pets can contract COVID-19 and the ways to prevent and watch out for it

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — For the first time in South Carolina, a dog in Charleston County was confirmed to have the virus that causes COVID-19, and a local veterinarian is taking notice.

“The COVID-19 coronavirus as I should say is now mutating or has been for the past couple of months to be able to affect our domestic pets as well,” said Dr. Isabelle Ying with Myrtle Beach Animal Hospital.

According to a report from Clemson University, a Charleston County dog has been confirmed positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans. The veterinarian said the dog had a chronic health condition and later had to be euthanized.

Dr. Ying said she’s gotten phone calls from concerned pet owners who think their animal may have the virus.

“There is a test that we can send off to the lab to test for COVID-19,” said Ying.

Dr. Ying also said there are signs to watch out for in your pets.

“Gastrointestinal, so vomiting or diarrhea, and/or respiratory, so coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge,” said Ying.

For humans, the virus can be spread by people coming into close contact with one another, and Dr. Ying said the transmission of the virus can work the same way our furry friends.

“If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, social distancing is important for us humans, but I would also recommend social distancing between you and your pet as well,” said Dr. Ying.

The CDC said the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is low. In some instances, people have spread it to animals so they encourage social distancing between COVID-19 positive people and pets. The CDC also said to not let pets interact with people outside your household.

The CDC also said if someone in your household has COVID-19, to put your pets in a separate room of the house to avoid exposure.

Dr. Ying said to call Myrtle Beach Animal Hospital or your veterinarian if you suspect your animal has COVID-19.

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