AMSTERDAM – A dog and three cats in the Netherlands are infected with the new coronavirus, authorities said Friday, the first confirmed cases of pets in the country.
The dog is said to have been infected by the owner, said Agriculture Minister Carola Schouten.
“It is important that pet owners follow this advice: patients with COVID-19 should avoid contact with their animals as a precaution,” Schouten said in a letter to Parliament. “Sick animals of people with COVID-19 should be kept indoors as much as possible.”
Other animal infections with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, have been reported occasionally around the world during the current pandemic.
The Dutch National Institute for Health says that the risk of an animal infecting people is very small.
Last month, a number of minks on a farm in the south of the Netherlands were found to be infected with the corona virus.
Schouten said that 11 cats living near the farm were tested and three of them had developed antibodies to the virus, which showed they had it. No test was positive for a live infection.
The dog was described as an 8-year-old American bulldog whose owner had COVID-19. The dog was dropped on April 30 because of severe breathing problems and a blood sample showed that he had developed antibodies to the virus.
“That means the dog has had an infection” from the new coronavirus, the letter said. However, it was not confirmed whether the dog’s breathing problems were the result of COVID-19 or any other condition.
In February, a dog in Hong Kong whose owner had the coronavirus tested “slightly positive” for the virus.