Arizona study shows COVID can go from humans to pets, but not other way

Nov 3, 2021, 4:15 AM | Updated: 10:22 am
Sir Winston of Westgate, a West Highland White Terrier and property mascot, wears a mask at the Wes...
Sir Winston of Westgate, a West Highland White Terrier and property mascot, wears a mask at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino just prior to the hotel-casino opening for the first time since being closed at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic on June 18, 2020. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Arizona researchers have genetically documented the transmission of COVID-19 from humans to pets but say the virus doesn’t move in the other direction.

The Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) said its ongoing study is the first to include genomic sequencing of COVID-19 in infected people and their pets.

TGen epidemiologist Hayley Yaglom told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday the latest findings suggest that people who test positive for the virus should practice basic mitigation measures around their animals for two weeks.

“So extra hand washing, wearing masks in the home if they have to have close contact with their pets, and really avoiding the snuggling and sleeping with their animals if at all possible,” she said.

Yaglom said the study found multiple pets with either active COVID infections or the presence of antibodies, which indicate past exposure.

“And this particular case study that we published on highlights a cluster of a dog and a cat in a home with their owner that was very symptomatic during his time of infection.”

However, the study hasn’t found cases of pets infecting humans with the virus.

“That has been evident throughout our study and similar studies that are being done across the U.S.,” Yaglom said.

Yaglom added that the best way to keep from spreading the potentially deadly disease is to get vaccinated.

“People across Arizona should definitely get the COVID-19 vaccine because it doesn’t just protect them, their family members, friends, co-workers, community, but it could potentially protect their pets as well,” she said.

TGen is looking for more adults who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks and live with dogs or cats to participate in the study, which started in March. Email [email protected] for more information.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar contributed to this report.

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Arizona study shows COVID can go from humans to pets, but not other way