Risk of SARS-CoV-2 Transmission from Humans to Pets and Vice Versa


  •   Zameer Shervani

  •   Intazam Khan

  •   Noha Yamin Siddiqui

  •   Tooba Khan

  •   Umair Yaqub Qazi


Numerous studies have described human-to-human airborne and contact-based transmissions of SARS-CoV-2, the epidemiological agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this review article, we assess the COVID-19 reverse-zoonotic transmission from humans-to-household pets and zoonotic transmission from pets-to-humans, and animal-to-animal transmission between cohoused pets including cats, dogs, and ferrets. COVID-19 in mink, ducks, pigs, chickens, and ectoparasite of domestic pets such as cat flea are also discussed. Cats and ferrets were found highly susceptible to SARS-COV-2; dogs susceptible to a lower degree; and chickens, pigs, and ducks not susceptible. Reverse zoonotic SARS-COV-2 transmission in dogs and cats was found as confirmed by genetic analysis of virus strains isolated from pets and pet owners. Most studies show absence of clinical symptoms in infected dogs and cats. There is no evidence of zoonotic transmission of SARS-COV-2 from pets, although the possibility could not be ruled out. COVID-19 in mink farms showed both human-to-mink and subsequent mink-to-human (zoonotic) transmission raising concerns about mink becoming possible unexpected intermediate hosts of SARS-COV-2. Preventative and control measures limiting zoonotic and reverse zoonotic COVID-19 transmissions should be developed and enforced publicly to minimize virus spread. Our article is important for animal and pet management in COVID-19 pandemic. As there is no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from household pets to humans, the pets must not be abandoned. To avoid virus transmission from infected households and pet-to-pet, the pets must be quarantined and isolated similar to humans. Leaving pets roaming in the community will increase the chances of virus spread. The original source of the virus is still unknown therefore, pets and animal management is necessary to stop the current and future pandemic.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, Zoonotic COVID-19 Transmission, COVID-19 and Pets, SARS-CoV-2 in Mink


Zameer Shervani, Intazam Khan, Tasrina Khan, Umair Yaqub Qazi, COVID-19 Vaccine, Advances in Infectious Diseases, 2020, 10, 195-210. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4236/aid.2020.103020

Zameer Shervani, Intazam Khan, Umair Yaqub Qazi, SARS-Cov-2 Delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Very Recent Advances in COVID-19 Detection, Treatment, and Vaccine Development Useful Conducting the Games in 2021, Advances in Infectious Diseases, 2020, 10, 56-66. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4236/aid.2020.103007

Zameer Shervani, Intazam Khan, Tasrina Khan, Umair Yaqub Qazi, World’s Fastest Supercomputer Picks COVID-19 Drug, Advances in Infectious Diseases, 2020, 10, 211-225. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4236/aid.2020.103021

Covid cases top 75 lakh as slowdown continues, The Times of India, October 19, 2020.

India’s active caseload of Covid-19 decreases but fear of resurgence remains, Hindustan Times, October 11, 2020.

TOI Coronavirus Live Tracker: How India is fighting coronavirus. Updates, myth-busters, tips and more. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/coronavirus

India drops to No.2 in daily Covid cases as US surges again, The Times of India, October 18, 2020.


India’s Covid cases now at 6 million, last 1m rise takes day more than previous, The Times of India, September 28, 2020.

Global coronavirus cases top 40 mil., NHK WORLD-JAPAN, October 20, 2020.

Zameer Shervani, Intazam Khan, Noha Yamin Siddiqui, Tooba Khan, Umair Yaqub Qazi, Viability of SARS-CoV-2 and Sanitization Methods, European Journal of Medical and Health Sciences, 3(2021)22-27. DOI: https://doi.org/10.24018/ejmed.2021.3.1.665

Shi, J.Z., Wen, Z.Y., Zhong, G.X., Yang, H.L., Wang, C., Huang, B.Y., Liu, R.Q., He, X.J., Shuai, L., Sun, Z.R., Zhao, Y.B., Liu, P.P., Liang, L.B., Cui, P.F., Wang, J.L., Zhang, X.F., Guan, Y.T., Tan, W.J., Wu, G.Z., Chen, H.L. and Bu, Z.G. (2020) Susceptibility of Ferrets, Cats, Dogs, and Other Domesticated Animals to SARS-Coro- navirus 2. Science, 368, 1016-1020. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abb7015. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abb7015

2 cats in NY become first US pets to test positive for virus, The Mainichi, April 23, 2020.

Abe, A., Study Shows COVID-19 Can Spread Easily between Cats. The Asahi Shimbun, June 7, 2020.

A Million Mink Culled in Netherlands and Spain amid COVID-19 Fur Farming Havoc. The Guardian, 17 July 2020.

Joaquim Segalés, Mariona Puig, Jordi Rodon, Carlos Avila-Nieto, Jorge Carrillo, Guillermo Cantero, Maria Teresa Terrón, Sílvia Cruz, Mariona Parera, Marc Noguera-Julián, Nuria Izquierdo-Useros, Víctor Guallar, Enric Vidal, Alfonso Valencia, Ignacio Blanco, Julià Blanco, Bonaventura Clotet, and Júlia Vergara-Alert, Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in a cat owned by a COVID-19−affected patient in Spain, Science, 117, 2020, 24790-24793. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2010817117

P. J. Halfmann et al., Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in domestic cats. N. Engl. J. Med. 383, 592–594 (2020). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMc2013400

Cats resistant to SARS-CoV-2 reinfection, News Medical, June 2, 2020.

Tianyue Gao, Xingchen Pan, Chungen Pan, The fate of house cats during the COVID-19 pandemic, Microbes and Infection, 22, 2020, 157. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.micinf.2020.04.006

Margarita Villar, Isabel G. Fernández de Mera, Sara Artigas-Jerónimo, Marinela Contreras, Christian Gortázar, and José de la Fuente, Coronavirus in cat flea: findings and questions regarding COVID-19, Parasites & Vectors, 13, 409, 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-020-04292-y

Japan Confirms First Cases of COVID-19 in Pets as Two Dogs Test Positive. The Japan Times, August 3, 2020.

Alison E. Stout, Nicole M. André, Javier A. Jaimes, Jean K. Millet, Gary R. Whittaker, Coronaviruses in cats and other companion animals: Where does SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 fit?, Veterinary Microbiology, 247, 2020, 108777. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2020.108777

Thomas H. C. Sit, Christopher J. Brackman, Sin Ming Ip, Karina W. S. Tam, Pierra Y. T. Law, Esther M. W. To, Veronica Y. T. Yu, Leslie D. Sims, Dominic N. C. Tsang, Daniel K. W. Chu, Ranawaka A. P. M. Perera, Leo L. M. Poon, Malik Peiris, Infection of dogs with SARS-CoV-2, Nature, 586, 2020, 776-778. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2334-5

N. Oreshkova et al., SARS-CoV2 infection in farmed mink, Netherlands, April 2020. bioRxiv:10.1101/2020.05.18.101493 (18 May 2020). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.05.18.101493

Bas B. Oude Munnink, Reina S. Sikkema, David F. Nieuwenhuijse, Robert Jan Molenaar, Emmanuelle Munger, Richard Molenkamp, Arco van der Spek, Paulien Tolsma, Ariene Rietveld, Miranda Brouwer, Noortje Bouwmeester-Vincken, Frank Harders, Renate Hakze-van der Honing, Marjolein C. A. WegdamBlans, Ruth J. Bouwstra, Corine GeurtsvanKessel, Annemiek A. van der Eijk, Francisca C. Velkers, Lidwien A. M. Smit, Arjan Stegeman, Wim H. M. van der Poel, Marion P. G. Koopmans, Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 on mink farms between humans and mink and back to humans, Science, Published online November 10, 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abe5901

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>