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Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds’s DOG Dilyn ‘had Covid’

It is ‘rare’ for an animal to contract the coronavirus, according to DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The UK Government agency says that animals that catch the virus ‘tend to show only mild symptoms and recover within a few days’.

There has only been a handful of cases of dogs getting Covid, including a 17-year-old Pomeranian who died and a German Shepherd living in Hong Kong.

Professor James Wood, head of veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge, said in the summer that the risks of pets getting Covid is ‘tiny’.

Dogs are susceptible to other forms of coronavirus, studies have shown.

Can humans catch Covid from infected pets?

There is no evidence pets transmit it to humans, with research suggesting they do not ‘shed’ enough virus to be infectious.

However, Government scientists have warned that animals could act as ‘fomites’, in the same way as surfaces such as door handles do.

For example, if an infected person coughed on their dog, the virus could survive on its fur and be passed to another person when they stroke it.

Even though SARS-CoV-2 — the virus behind Covid — is thought to have originated in bats, experts insist there is no proof animals play a major role in spreading the disease. 

How bad are the symptoms of the virus in dogs?

Covid-19 seems to be far less deadly in animals than in humans. 

The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals — a charity that provides care for sick and injured animals — says: ‘Most of the small number of pets that have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus showed no symptoms at all. 

‘The tiny number that did were cats, and they only developed very mild symptoms such as coughing, or breathing slightly faster than usual. 

‘There have been no animal deaths caused by Covid-19.’ 

Should I put a mask on my dog?

Dogs will find wearing a mask ‘scary’, according to Dr Jenny Stavisky, of the University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine. 

Professor Dorothee Bienzle, an expert in veterinary pathology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, said: ‘The risk of a dog choking on the mask is a greater risk than the small chance it would protect them from Covid.’

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