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ATTENTION: How COVID-19 affects your horse

by Laura Wienecke
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A recently published study from the USA showed that horses can be infected with COVID-19. Therefore people affected by the coronavirus should avoid close contact with their horse.

Fortunately the fear that pets contribute to the spread of COVID-19 was unfounded. However the first dogs tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in late February 2020. According to studies dogs can be infected by their owners but this has not yet happened the other way round or in other species. This makes dogs to an epidemiological dead end for SARS-CoV-2.

With cats it is not so unproblematic. Even if humans cannot catch it from their cat, infected cats can contract COVID-19 and in the worst case they die from it. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recommends to keep the contact with your cat as low as possible in case of COVID-19.

According to the findings of the current study the same applies to horse owners. The study conducted at the University of California Davis showed that about six percent of horses that had close contact with SARS-CoV-2 positive humans formed antibodies against the virus. Similar to dogs, horses do not seem to show any clinical symptoms.

Nevertheless caution is advised

Even if horses do not develop clinical SARS-CoV-2 infections, owners should avoid too close contact with the horse as long as they are positive. This is because the horse may undergo a silent infection and act as an accidental host. The concern behind this recommendation is because if SARS-CoV-2 has been transmitted to the animal once it will mutate there and return in an altered form causing new problems in humans.

Source: study

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