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Up until a few months back, the world was crumbling under uncertainty as the coronavirus outbreak engulfed millions of people in its deathly embrace. Now, hope has emerged as vaccinations have begun in various countries, and life seems to be slowly returning back to normal. However, it goes without saying that the pandemic is still not over. The virus continues to infect thousands of people every day. But if you have been closely following the news about the development of vaccines, you might know that it’s not just humans who need to be immunized against the virus. To fully curb the spread of this disease, we might need COVID-19 vaccines for dogs and other pets too.
If you are worried about your pooch’s wellbeing and wondering whether they need an anti-viral shot for COVID-19 or not, the following article is a must-read.
Here we dive into the recent research and provide an in-depth explanation of why pets might need their own coronavirus vaccines.
In the latest news, researchers are saying that pets may eventually need their own vaccines for COVID-19 in order to prevent the virus from evolving further. One group of scientists said the vaccines might be necessary for all household pets, including dogs, cats, ferrets, and the likes.
The suggestion for vaccinating pets is based on the fact that COVID-19 disease is known to affect animals. Initially, when the virus first spread, it was unknown whether or not it could infect pets. However, the events of the last year have provided quite a clear answer to this confusion. As you might know already, there have been a number of cases where the virus was detected in domesticated animals such as cats, dogs, minks, and even gorillas and tigers in zoos.
For instance, news published by the FPS Public Health in Belgium  reported that the coronavirus infection had been detected in a cat. The cat allegedly caught the virus from their owner who had been showing symptoms of the disease for over a week before the cat exhibited breathing difficulties followed by vomiting and diarrhea.
Likewise, there was another story about a tiger in the Bronx Zoo in New York that caught the attention of international media. The tiger was found to have the virus after being in close contact with one of the zookeepers who had previously tested positive for COVID-19.
However, it’s worth noting that even though some animals tested positive and displayed symptoms of the infection, there were hardly any serious health complications observed in pets.
The occurrence of the virus in animals is quite rare. In fact, compared to the rate at which it spread among humans, the possibility of this disease in pets is almost negligible. According to researchers, pets and animals are not really responsible for the spread of COVID-19. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that pets do not play a significant role in transmitting the virus to people .
Nonetheless, there’s a slight chance that animals can present a risk to humans in the coming months. This is because pets can become potential carriers for the virus. Therefore, COVID-19 vaccines for dogs and cats might be a future necessity.
On January 25, 2021, an open-access journal called Virulence published a new editorial . Here, the authors drew attention to the possibility of encountering new strains of the coronavirus in the not-so-distant future. Since animals can serve as a host for the virus responsible for the COVID-19 disease, the deadly microorganisms can evolve inside their bodies and spread back the humans later on. The editorial uses the term ‘animal reservoirs,’ highlighting the likelihood of pets becoming a breeding ground for potentially more dangerous disease-causing microbes.
In other words, the main concern here is that so long as the virus stays active in any living creature, it cannot really be wiped off from the world. If pets become carriers, then the virus can spread at a fast rate within the animal population. As this transmission chain develops, animal-specific strains can start evolving. Sooner or later, the strains can infect people. Even if they have been immunized against COVID-19, humans might still be prone to infection. This is because the evolved strains will be new species of related viruses that their body hasn’t produced antibodies for before. Consequently, they can fall ill and might have to go in quarantine again for a certain amount of time to avoid the risk of transmitting the disease to others around them.
Simply put, we might see a repeat of the whole events of 2020 once more this year if we don’t pay proper attention to preventing the spread of this virus in pets.
Take note, however, that even though the authors have proposed the idea for immunizing pets against COVID-19, they aren’t calling for the administration of any pet shots right now. CDC is still investigating the probability of animals passing on the virus responsible for COVID-19 to people. According to the health protection agency, the results of the research conducted so far have been inconclusive.
In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has clearly announced that there is no urgent need for a pet vaccine for COVID-19. Pharmaceutical companies and health professionals are legally allowed to carry out the research and perform other tests for the development of pet vaccines. However, they are not permitted to distribute or sell the vaccines until a relevant license is issued by the governing authorities.
So, do you need to vaccinate your pet against the COVID-19 disease?
The most direct answer to that question would be: not yet.
COVID-19 vaccine for dogs is not something pet parents need to be concerned about at the moment. However, keep in mind that your furry friend might need a jab at some point down the road. You can enroll your dog in any trial if you want. But you can also steer clear of injecting them if you are uncertain about associated merits and demerits.
by Bobby J Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™ .
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