Hong Kong dog quarantine sparks panic amongst expat dog owners in Spain

Published:  2 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: Spain, USA, Hong Kong, Euro
News that a dog in Hong Kong has tested positive for the coronavirus and quarantined is scaring expat pet owners across Spain.

Although experts have reassured pet owners worldwide that their furry family members cannot become infected by the deadly virus, the Hong Kong authority has quarantined a dog and are now searching for more to isolate. The unfortunate dog doesn’t have any symptoms and is the first non-human victim, with the projected dog quarantine itself the first time pets have been restricted during a virus outbreak.

A government spokesperson in Hong Kong told reporters the Pomeranian is now in quarantine for the usual 14 days after tests of fluids from its oral and nasal cavities had resulted in a weak positive for the virus. When asked why the government had tested this particular dog, no explanation was given, although the spokesperson admitted it wasn’t clear whether the dog actually had the virus or that the tests had picked up low-level contamination in its nose and mouth from its infected owner.

Whilst expat pet owners in Spain and other European countries are now in fear that their beloved dogs may catch the virus, one molecular virologist at Nottingham University called out the testing as simply a deliberate distraction from the reality of the virus’s worldwide spread. Referring to the low concentration of the virus, he added the timescale of the virus mutating and infecting the dog, thus allowing it to infect humans, was ‘incredibly unlikely’, making the proposed testing of all pets belonging to infected humans a waste of time.

At the present time, veterinary virologists in the USA and other first-world countries are agreed that transmission from human to pet or the reverse is highly unlikely, thus allowing expat pet owners in Spain to control their fears. At present, all experts on the behaviour of viruses agree they’re species-specific, with transmission between humans and animals either uncommon or impossible.
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