27 August 2021
The Chief Veterinary Officer, Alistair Breed, has reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) the finding of a case of infection in a pet dog with the virus that causes Covid-19.
The dog died of other causes in early July. Samples taken from the dog after it had died tested positive for Covid-19 virus in initial tests. Follow up laboratory analysis of the samples by the UK National Reference Laboratory for SARS-CoV-2 showed that the dog was infected with the virus however it had other underlying heath conditions which are likely to have made the dog ill.
Chief Veterinary Officer, Alistair Breed said: "It is sad when a beloved pet is lost in any circumstances and although this dog tested positive for Covid-19 virus, it died of other causes. It is extremely rare to find the Covid-19 virus in a dog, however it is not unknown.
"This is an isolated incident. The pet came from a household where there was a person who had Covid-19 and there have been a very small number of reports of Covid-19 virus being found in dogs in other countries in similar circumstances.
"Please be reassured that there is no evidence that pets transmit the disease to humans, and that it is safe to keep pets in the home. In line with the general advice on preventing infection, you should wash your hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals. Please get in touch with your private vet if you have any concerns about the welfare or health of your pets. There is no change to Public Health risk as a result of this case."