If people were afraid that their fur baby could infect their flesh baby

or themselves with a deadly novel disease, would the pet humanization trendcontinue?

A North Carolina pet dog originally believed to be the first canine SARS-CoV-2coronavirus infection in the Unites States seems like a false alarm.Scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National VeterinaryServices Laboratories concluded that the dog, a Pug named Winston, likelynever was infected the virus, reported WRAL.

Worldwide, a few genuine coronavirus infections in dogs have popped up. In thefirst recorded example, a Pomeranian in Hong Kong tested positive for thecoronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in late Feb. Likewise, cats seem to be susceptible,such as two separate feline coronavirus cases in New York, but not seriouslythreatened.

Hypothetical cat flu outbreak

However, even the rumor that pets could transmit the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirusled people to abandon their dogs and cats in the streets in some regions, asthe BBC reported. What if a zoonotic disease erupted that could spread frompets to people and vice versa? The World Health Organization (WHO) preparedfor just that scenario with a simulation exercise in 2017, one of an annualseries of drills called Exercise Crystal.

WHO doctors used the exercise to test the outbreak responses of 30 countriesand area in the Western Pacific region. The simulation supposed that apreviously unknown illness began spreading among cats. Meanwhile, cat ownersand veterinarians also start reporting flu-like symptoms to their doctors. Bythe end of the hypothetical outbreak, cat flu had infected hundreds of peoplein participants’ own countries and spread internationally.

“While a scenario involving pet cats initially seems absurd, it is actuallynot too far from the truth,” WHO official Dr. Masaya Kato said on the agency’swebsite. “Zoonotic diseases—that is, diseases which are transmitted betweenanimals and humans—are something we have to prepare for. Some recent exampleshave been avian influenza, Middle East respiratory syndrome and plague. Wewanted participants to think through what they would do if faced with such ascenario. Do they know how to reach their animal health counterparts? And dothey know when and how to notify WHO?”

While the WHO examined how health officials would react, I don’t think theyexamined the social effect. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, peopletended to adopt pets to keep them company while staying home to avoidtransmitting the disease. Overall, pet food sales surged then dropped duringthe first months of the pandemic, but ultimately seem resilient, since peoplewill always have to feed their pets. Quite the opposite might happen if a catflu broke out. If people were afraid that their fur baby could infect theirreal baby or themselves with a deadly novel disease, the pet food industrywould find itself in a very different situation than in the current pandemic.

Source:Tim Wall Petfood Industry

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