Coronavirus and the pets of Wuhan
As this latest strain of coronavirus is spreading from person to person, making its way across the world, there are many stories going around. At times, it can be difficult to differentiate fact from fiction with varied reports coming out. I’m not looking to wade into that minefield but, I have been thinking about it from a slightly different angle, I’ve been wondering about the impact to animals in all of this.
Coronavirus is a virus which has been around for about 50,000 years, or even more. As we know, viruses mutate in order to survive. They can be passed between people and between animals and sometimes, between people and animals. As you’ve probably heard, this current strain of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is believed to have been passed to humans from bats, potentially through some other intermediate animal or animals. However, this virus has now fully adapted to humans and is now considered a human virus.
The reason I tell you all this is to alleviate any concerns you may have about the transmission of coronavirus from, or to, your household pet. While it is possible for viruses to transfer from animals to humans, the genetic change required is significant and would take a considerable amount of time. My point is, you won’t get coronavirus from your pet, and neither will it give it to you.
When thinking about the transmission of coronavirus between animals and humans, it also led me to consider all the household pets, of now-evacuated Wuhan, where the virus appears to have originated. If the occupants of Wuhan were required to evacuate, what’s happened to their pets!?
As is the case with most tragedies we see, the incredible spirit and generosity of some people never ceases to amaze me. I stumbled across a story which tells of a group of volunteers who are going back into Wuhan to ensure the safety of the pets which have had to be left behind.
These incredible volunteers have contact with the evacuated people who tell them how to get into their apartments, which animals should be found in their homes and how to go about feeding them. The volunteers spend hours and hours riding through the city, requesting access to apartment buildings which have been locked down, in order to reassure people that their beloved pets are safe and fed.
In times of crisis, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by stories which are bleak and seem to feed our anxieties. That’s why I loved hearing about, and had to share with you, these selfless people looking out for the furry friends which had to be left behind in Wuhan. We’re yet to see the full impact of coronavirus but in the meantime, it’s heartening to hear positive stories in amongst
Shannon Wood, Managing Director S8 Expert Recruitment Solutions. I have over 15 years recruitment experience specialising in the animal health industry across the ANZ region. Areas of expertise include sales and marketing, technical roles (Quality Assurance, Quality Control & Regulatory Affairs) and operational & financial positions. I work extensively in the veterinary, ruminant, monogastric, aquaculture and the pet specialty industries and I look forward to the next 15 years.