It's not just humans who can get the novel coronavirus. Fortunately, one vet is giving B.C. pets COVID-19 tests, and they're some of the first in the world. Don't be too concerned though because it's pretty rare that animals catch the virus from us.
"It's the first one, the first time we have this test here," said Dr. Roshe Oz, a veterinarian at Rose Valley Veterinary Clinic in Kelowna. "It's quite new and exciting," he told Narcity.
The tests come from IDEXX Laboratories and in response to reports that pets — especially cats and ferrets — are able to get COVID-19.
In order to get your pets tested, Oz says they need to meet three criteria first.
First, they must live in a home where someone has COVID-19. Then, the vet must have already tested the animal for a more common infection. Finally, the pet must be showing symptoms of COVID-19.
"Then we go ahead and take some swabs or some fecal tests. And we send it away to the lab. It takes one to three days."
Each test costs $200.
According to Oz, pets have many of the same symptoms of COVID-19 as humans, like breathing difficulties or problems with digestion. But this is still very new research, and scientists don't know many solid facts.
Fortunately, Oz continued that it's very rare for pets to catch COVID-19. And, for now, it appears humans can't catch the virus from their pets.
"Most likely, as far as we know, it might be transmission from human to the cat, and not vice-versa for now," he said.
Previously, a tiger in New York City's Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, April 2.
The same day, two housecats also tested positive in New York, according to National Geographic.
While it's rare for animals to catch the virus from humans in general, cats are more likely to get infected than others.
To keep your kitties safe, Oz suggests keeping the "same hygiene" practices we normally do with our pets. This includes isolating ourselves if we test positive, washing our hands, and trying not to sneeze or "cough on the dog or the cat."
"The more tests that we can do the better of course," said Oz, "to try and screen out pets they have an issue, and learn more about the disease."