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Updated: May 4, 2021

The recent coronavirus disease has placed the world in mortal terror and consternation. There have been a few cases that have been reported in Kenya. The coronavirus disease 2019(COVID-19) is a disease that is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This disease as it is now famously called COVID-19 is thought to have started in December 2019 in Wuhan province, china. This has spread across the world causing unprecedented public health pandemic.

Transmission of COVID-19 from Animals to Human (Zoonosis). There are many coronaviruses that affect many species and are classified as positive-sense RNA viruses, which can cause respiratory, gastrointestinal, hepatic, and neurological diseases in their hosts. In wildlife, bats are a natural reservoir host of a large diversity of coronaviruses and recent researches have attributed the emergence of novel coronaviruses as being of public health and veterinary importance. Three such viruses emerged in the last 17 years, including the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus in 2002, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus in 2012, and the swine acute diarrhoea syndrome (SADS) coronavirus in 2017. Additionally, due to the emergence of SARS, MERS and SADS, it is now widely accepted that coronaviruses are capable of readily adapting to new hosts.

Coronaviruses were also detected as potential pathogens of Malayan pangolins, which have shown a complex genetic relationship with SARS coronavirus. A study by Ping and et al concluded that the increased number of deaths of Malayan pangolins that were smuggled into china was caused by different types of SARS-CoV virus that were isolated from them. The spread of the virus from animals to human is suspected to have started in a fish and wildlife market in Wuhan, China. This was through the handling of wildlife animals like the pangolins and not necessarily eating them.

Spread of COVID-19 from persons to person. The transmission of the virus between people is through touching or inhaling of nasal or oral droplets from an infected person. An infected person may not necessarily show any symptoms of the disease during the incubation period. To curb this virus, we have to change our tradition of shaking hands and pecking our loved ones.

Does COVID-19 affect pets? Dogs can contract certain types of coronaviruses, such as the canine respiratory coronavirus which in many cases are mild and therefore not considered to be a threat to dogs. In addition, there is no current evidence that has shown that pet animals can be a source of infection of COVID-19. Dogs do not need a face mask to protect themselves against the virus or passing it to their owners.

How does the pet owner protect themselves and their pets? There are no vaccinations that are available for COVID-19 for dogs and human at the moment. Since the virus does not affect pets, there are no specific measures that pet owners can take to protect their pets.

However, pet owners can take the following measures to protect themselves: 1) Wash your hands often with soap and water 2) Sanitize your hands after touching public area surfaces. 3) Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 4) Avoid close contact with sick people. 5) Cover your face with paper towels when coughing or sneezing and dispose of the towels in a safe manner. 6) Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 7) Self-quarantine if one feels that he or she has been exposed to COVID-19

To avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus,

The Andys Veterinary Clinics are a NO HANDSHAKE ZONE.

References Ping Liu, Wu Chen and Jin-Ping Chen (2019): Viral Metagenomics Revealed Sendai Virus and Coronavirus Infection of Malayan Pangolins (Manis javanica) Viruses 11(11), 979.

Markotter, W., Geldenhuys,M., Jansen van Vuren, P.,Kemp,A., Mortlock,M., Mudakikwa,A., Nel, L., Nziza, J., Paweska,J and Weyer,J. (2019); Paramyxo- and Coronaviruses in Rwandan Bats. Trop Med Infect Dis. 4(3): 99.

Shi-Yan, R., Rong-Ding, G., and Ye-Lin C. (2020): Fear can be more harmful than the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in controlling the coronavirus disease 2019 epidemic. World J Clin Cases. 8(4): 652–657

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