COVID-19 and Animals


Acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is commonly known as COVID-19. This coronavirus seems to have originated from animal sources. It is theorized that it originated in bats (Rhinolophus affinis) and/or Malayan pangolins (Manis javanica)1. Whatever its origin, this coronavirus mutated to be able to infect humans at a high rate and cause significant illness and death.

Despite the theorized origination from animals, there is little evidence that domestic animals can become infected or be reservoirs for COVID-19. On March 4, 2020, there was a report2 from Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department that a dog had returned a week positive test result. Details were scant and later the dog tested negative. The World Health Organization (WHO) advices that there is no evidence that pets can be infected with COVID-19.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can my pet get COVID-19?
A: The WHO, CDC, and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) indicate that pets do not get COVID-19.

Q: Will the corona respiratory vaccine used in animals work in people?
A: No! Animal vaccines cannot be used in people. They are labeled for animals and lack the proper testing and research to verify efficacy and safety in humans. COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that has emerged. There is no evidence that human respiratory corona virus vaccines, approved for human use, have any cross protection.

Q: I’ve likely been exposed to animal corona virus while raising them. Will this protect me against COVID-19?
A: No. COVID-19 is a novel virus that the human immune system has not seen before.

Q: Does pasteurization kill the virus?
A: Yes—All dairy products are safe. However, raw dairy products have not been pasteurized.

Q: Is it safe to eat ice cream?
A: Yes. Articles stating something contrary are false.

Q: Can the lactoferrin in milk protect you from the virus?
A: No.


Have another question?

Email Dr. Rood, Extension veterinarian, at

USU Extension has developed several resources in response to COVID-19. To view those resources, click here.

Andersen, Kristian G., et al. “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2.” Nature Medicine (2020): 1-3.

Hong Kong Government. “Low-level of infection with COVID-19 in a Pet Dog.” Press Releases. [accessed March 23, 2020]

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