GEE AND URSULA

UW, WSU study testing whether pets are vulnerable to COVID-19

May 10, 2020, 7:06 AM | Updated: May 11, 2020, 10:26 am

Testing pets for coronavirus...

(MyNorthwest photo)

(MyNorthwest photo)

While veterinarians have said in the past that there’s little evidence COVID-19 can be spread to or from pets, a coalition of Washington researchers are hoping to gain more insight.

Washington cherry harvest in coronavirus crosshairs

“We share households with pets and we often have more contact with some of these pets than we have with people in our household,” UW MetaCenter for Pandemic Preparedness Director Dr. Peter Rabinowitz told KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show. “As we look at social distancing, we need to understand what the need is for any distancing between us and animals in the household.”

While pointing out the risk to pets is still “quite low,” the larger goal is to better understand how or if the virus is transmitting to and from household animals.

There hasn’t been much in the way of substantive data on transmission among pets, Dr. Rabinowitz said, which makes the study being conducted by the coalition of UW and Washington State University researchers that much more important.

“There’s been very few really systematic studies of this, so we feel that there needs to be at least some good evidence to base our recommendations on,” he noted.

The study is looking for anyone who’s been infected with the coronavirus within the last two weeks. Those who qualify can go to the study’s website and enroll. Researchers will then go into homes to test pets free of charge. Animals eligible for testing include dogs, cats, ferrets, and hamsters.

How to help Puget Sound’s surrendered pets during coronavirus crisis

Blood tests to determine whether anyone in the household previously had the virus will also be conducted.

If evidence indicates that pets are at risk of catching the virus, the hope is to be able to warn pet owners accordingly.

“It means we should just take reasonable precautions to, if we are infected with COVID ourselves, try to avoid infecting other people in the house, and also try to not have close contact with the animals as part of doing everything we can to slow down the transmission,” Dr. Rabinowitz detailed. “Just really including animals in the whole social distancing idea.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula

pierce county pride...

Frank Sumrall

Pierce Co. Council member to avoid chambers while Pride Flag is present

Pierce County Councilmember Amy Cruver says she will refuse to sit in the county's council chambers while a pride flag flies overhead.

14 days ago

...

MyNorthwest Video

Video: GEE and Baby GEE

A very special guest joined the Gee and Ursula Show: Gee Jr.! It’s fair to say that like father, like son. Watch Gee Jr. answer questions about his dad, life, and more! Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show every weekday at 9am on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM Listen to KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM or […]

20 days ago

Image: From left, Heather Bosch, Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin of KIRO Newsradio share some laughs du...

Steve Coogan

Peace out! Malfunction on ‘Gee and Ursula’ leads to lots of laughs

Sometimes, equipment malfunctions on shows like "Gee and Ursula" can lead to a few minutes of chaos and a fun, unique moment.

1 month ago

newcastle mayor...

Frank Sumrall

Gee Scott: Newcastle mayor’s comments ‘are awful, what he represents is awful’

Newcastle Mayor Robert Clark fired off a plethora of controversial comments about the local LGBTQ+ community and reparations during a city council meeting.

1 month ago

seattle spd lawsuit...

Ursula Reutin

Ursula: Being gay has no bearing on allegations against former SPD Chief Diaz

In his first interview since he stepped down as the city's top cop, former SPD Chief Adrian Diaz publicly came out as gay.

1 month ago

rahr police...

Frank Sumrall

Interim SPD Chief Rahr on police-city relations: ‘Can we please hit the reset button?’

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell appointed Sue Rahr as the city's interim police chief after removing Adrian Diaz from the role due to accumulating allegations.

1 month ago

UW, WSU study testing whether pets are vulnerable to COVID-19