Spanish scientists analyzed the effect of different types of activity on the likelihood of contracting SARS-Cov-2 and made an unexpected discovery: dog owners have a 78% higher risk of infection compared to those who do not have a pet.
IN researchconducted by scientists from the University of Granada and the Andalusian School of Public Health, the results of a survey of 2,086 residents of Spain were included. The respondents filled out a questionnaire, in which they reported in detail about their hygiene habits and lifestyle during the spring lockdown.
The researchers analyzed factors that could affect the risk of infection and found that living with dogs and walking regularly were associated with a 78% increased risk of infection. Recall that during self-isolation, dog owners had the right at any time to leave the house for a walk with their pet.
To date, there is no evidence that pets can transmit the virus to humans. The authors of the study suggested that the increased risk of infection in dog owners may be due to the fact that while walking, pets touched and licked contaminated surfaces, and then brought the infection into the house. It is also possible that the virus is transmitted to humans through animal feces, so dog walking grounds can be potential breeding grounds for infection. Although there is no evidence of this yet, scientists believe that dog owners should pay increased attention to hygiene during and after walking with their pets.
Previously, scientists from Italy and the United Kingdom conducted a study of throat swabs taken from 915 dogs and 505 cats in the most affected areas of the pandemic in Italy, including in families where COVID-19 was confirmed. PCR tests did not detect coronavirus in any of the animals, which suggests that none of the pets was infected at the time of sampling. However, serologic testing revealed the presence of specific neutralizing antibodies in 13 dogs and 6 cats, with 2 dogs and one cat living in homes where no family member had confirmed COVID-19. All other pets are most likely infected from their sick owners.
This work confirmed the ability of dogs and cats to produce neutralizing antibodies. Given that dogs were twice as likely to have antibodies, this may indicate an increased susceptibility to infection compared to cats. In August, the Japanese media wrote about two cases of confirmed coronavirus in dogs whose owners were sick with COVID-19. In mid-July, a dog named Buddy died in New York, who also had coronavirus and symptoms of the disease.