Vet Q&A: Can I get my pet vaccinated against Covid-19?

by PDSA Vets | 5 February #VetQ&As

With vaccinations against the coronavirus being rolled out to people, you might be wondering if your pet can have – or even needs – a Covid-19 vaccination.

The short answer is, no. Covid-19 is different to the coronaviruses that can affect our pets. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses and different types of these are found in most species of animals. While we can occasionally see serious disease caused by the coronaviruses found in our pets (you may have heard of feline infectious peritonitis, FIP, in cats) they mostly only cause very mild signs, usually a mild respiratory infection or tummy upset. For example, they can be one of the causes of kennel cough in dogs. These coronaviruses don't affect humans at all.

So far, very few domestic pets have been found to be infected with the Covid-19 virus, and the rare cases that have only showed very mild symptoms (if any at all). So, while there is no Covid-19 vaccination for our pets, at this stage there’s no evidence to suggest they will ever need one.

You can find out more about Covid-19 in pets on our Pet Health Hub.


But won’t my pet spread coronavirus if they’re not vaccinated?

You may have heard of some of the cases worldwide where animals have caught the virus from humans, but the chance of them spreading it further is extremely low. Despite millions of confirmed human infections around the world, there is no evidence of a single case of pets passing the virus to humans. The main way people are catching it is through human contact. 

Owners of ferrets have been advised to take extra care because ferrets are related to mink, who are more susceptible to Covid-19. You can read more information about ferrets and Covid-19 on our hub. 

There is a potential risk that our pets could carry the virus on their fur if they are touched or coughed on by an infected person, just as with any other surface, so we’d recommend that you don’t stroke other people’s pets right now. But your pet doesn’t need to be washed like we are having to wash our hands, so don’t bathe them any more than usual!

If you’re showing symptoms or have tested positive for the virus, try to minimise contact with your pet if you can and follow our advice on self-isolating with a pet.


Should I still get my pet vaccinated against other diseases?

If you are able to, we would always recommend keeping on top of your pet’s vaccinations and boosters. It will help to protect them against some nasty diseases.

However, many vets may only be able to see emergency patients at the moment due to the pandemic and lockdown, and might not be able to offer preventive treatments like vaccinations. If you’re unsure what services your vet is currently offering, check their website or give them a call.

If you are unable to get your pet vaccinated at this time, we have plenty of advice on our Hub to help you keep them safe until you are able to have them vaccinated again:

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