AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A dog and three cats in the Netherlands have beeninfected with the new coronavirus, authorities said on Friday, the firstconfirmed cases involving house pets in the country.

The dog was believed to have been infected by its owner, Agriculture MinisterCarola Schouten said.

“It’s important that owners of house pets follow this advice: patients withCOVID-19 should as a precaution avoid contact with their animals,” Schoutensaid in a letter to parliament. “Sick animals belonging to people withCOVID-19 should be kept inside as much as possible.”

Other animal infections with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by thenew coronavirus, have been occasionally reported around the world during thecurrent pandemic.

The Netherlands’ National Institute for Health says the risk of an animalinfecting humans is very small.

Last month a number of minks on a farm in the south of the Netherlands werefound to have been infected with the coronavirus.

Schouten said 11 cats that lived near the farm were tested and three found tohave developed antibodies to the virus, showing they had had it. None testedpositive for a live infection.

The dog was described as an 8-year-old American bulldog whose owner hadCOVID-19. The dog was put down on April 30 due to severe breathing problems,and a blood sample showed that it had developed antibodies to the virus.

“That means that the dog had experienced an infection” of the new coronavirus,the letter said. However, it had not been confirmed whether the dog’sbreathing problems resulted from COVID-19 or another ailment.

In February a dog in Hong Kong whose owner had the coronavirus tested “weaklypositive” for the virus.

Source: Reuters

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