A Sydney vet is being asked by pet owners if they should euthanise their catsand dogs as a way to stop the spread of coronavirus.
A Sydney vet says he is being asked by some clients if they should euthanisetheir pets amid growing fears about the spread of coronavirus.
Dr Sam Kovac, a veterinarian who treats animals in the city’s inner-city andinner west said there had been a spike in pet owners questioning whether thevirus can be transmitted from their animals.
Fears about the spread of the virus is mounting, with reports four days ago ofpeople in China throwing cats and dogs from tower blocks.
Coronaviruses are classified as zoonotic diseases, meaning they can spreadfrom people to animals. However, in the case of this particular strain ofcoronavirus (officially named 2019-nCoV), bats are the original hosts.
The virus spread to other animals via the saliva or faeces of bats, andsubsequently to workers at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.
“In the last couple of weeks, two people have phoned to ask if they could bookinto have a discussion with a vet to have their animals put to sleep becauseof fears of coronavirus,” Dr Kovac said.
“These are people who are so hysterical about the virus they were consideringeuthanasia as a way to protect their family.
“Our receptionists were shocked. Euthanise is something we need to treat withthe utmost respect.
“There is testing available for coronavirus, and these two people hadn’t hadtheir pets tested.”
The Huanan wet market specialises in the sale of wildlife; with the SouthChina Morning Post reporting the market had more than 120 species of wildlifebeing sold live as food, Dr Kovac wrote on the Southern Cross Vets’ blog.
These included badgers, hedgehogs, wolf pups, bats, snakes and even koalas
Wet markets place people and live and dead animals in close contact, making iteasy for a virus to jump species.
One of the biggest problems with the virus is that it doesn’t cause symptomsto wild animals who have it.
However, when animals are killed for food or eaten raw or improperly cooked,the virus can infect humans where it does cause symptoms, Dr Kovac said.
Animals like cats and dogs may carry a strain of coronavirus; however, DrKovac stressed this is completely different to the coronavirus currentlyinfecting thousands.
“Coronavirus in dogs is actually really common and highly contagious, but onlynormally causes mild gastro symptoms like diarrhoea and vomiting (if anysymptoms at all),” Dr Kovac said.
“Sometimes it can even be a lifelong infection as the virus can reproduce byitself in your dog’s intestine’s cells.”
Dr Kovac’s advised there are tests available if you think your dog may havecoronavirus.
The situation with cats and coronavirus is slightly different, Dr Kovac said.
“Like with dog coronavirus, it rarely causes any problems at all, and mostinfected cats never show any symptoms at all.”
However, when this virus decides to mutate it creates a horrible diseasecalled Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) which shuts down all the organs incats and causes fluid to accumulate in the belly, lungs and brains.
“It’s an incredibly painful disease and has a protracted length of sufferinguntil death ensues,” Dr Kovac said.
“There’s no treatment at all and a diagnosis of FIP is a death sentence witheuthanasia recommended as soon as a diagnosis of FIP is made to avoidsuffering.”
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