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COVID-19 and Risk to Pets - Petsure Advice

Currently there are a lot of conflicting reports around how coronavirus can affect the health of pets. To clarify the facts, pet insurance provider, Petsy has consulted with their inhouse vet team at Petsure to collate a list of FAQs for pet owners to refer to (copied below). 

Most importantly, there is no evidence to suggest that dogs or cats can get sick or spread COVID-19.

Monica Limanto
, CEO and co-founder of Petsy, said she was relieved that there was no current evidence to suggest pets were at risk of Coronavirus. 

"According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and our vet team at PetSure, there is no current evidence that dogs and cats can become sick from COVID-19. This means there is no evidence to suggest we should be concerned about our pets catching or spreading Coronavirus, and most importantly, there is no reason for pet owners to be giving away their pets out of fear of this. 

We need to look after our pets health as normal and stay calm as they are likely picking up on the anxiety felt by their human owners at a time like this," said Monica Limanto, CEO and co-founder of Petsy.

Coronaviruses/COVID-19 and your pets – what you need to know 

What is a Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which can cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the recently identified COVID-19. 

What is COVID-19 and can it infect pets?

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the recently identified coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 was unknown before the recent outbreak identified late last year. 

Currently, there is no evidence suggesting that dogs and cats can be a source of infection for COVID-19, or that they can become sick from the COVID-19 virus. COVID-19 is currently spreading through human to human transmission. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This helps protect against various common bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella, that can pass between pets and humans.

There is a single dog in Hong Kong which tested a weak positive to the COVID-19 virus, however it is still being investigated whether this positive test result was due to environmental contamination or if the dog was truly infected. It is important to note the dog was not showing any signs of disease. This is an evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available from the relevant human health and veterinary bodies. 

Do dogs and cats suffer illness from any coronaviruses?

Feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIP) and canine coronavirus (CCV) are two coronaviruses which have been unfortunately present and causing disease in dog and cat populations for a long time. 

It is important to note that FIP and CCV are distinctly different and separate to the COVID-19 virus causing the current disease outbreak with humans. CCV generally causes mild gastroenteritis in dogs, and FIP is a progressive and invariably fatal systemic disease of domestic cats. Both cannot cause illness in people.

Do policies provide cover for COVID-19 or other coronaviruses?

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and canine coronavirus (CCV) are assessed as Illness conditions under policies and are generally eligible for cover under Illness subject to the policy terms, and provided the condition is not a pre-existing condition.

It is important to remember, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and veterinary bodies have advised currently there is no evidence dogs and cats can become sick from COVID-19. If there are any developments in relation to COVID 19 impacting dogs and cats, we will do our best to keep our customers informed.

Professor Vanessa Barrs, a veterinarian who specialises in infectious diseases, has also provided a useful video update, explaining that there is no risk of infection of COVID-19 from our pets:

Rest assured if your pet is currently displaying symptoms of coughing, respiratory issues or a fever/elevated temperature, you should seek veterinary advice, and know this is generally coverable under your policy depending on your selected cover and relevant terms and conditions.

If I am quarantined or hospitalised due to COVID-19 and can’t take care of my pet, can I seek assistance for emergency boarding?

Emergency boarding under is generally covered if you become sick with COVID-19 and require hospitalisation for five or more consecutive days. Please note this is subject to your selected policy, benefit limits and relevant terms and conditions.

If you are not hospitalised and are simply quarantined at home due to COVID-19, emergency boarding for your pet will not be covered.

Additional resources

Further information relating to the coronavirus can be sourced from the World Health Organisation (WHO) or Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) websites:

Terms, conditions, waiting periods, limits and exclusions apply. is general insurance issued by the insurer The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd (ABN 78 090 584 473; AFSL 241436) (Hollard); is promoted and distributed by Pet Insurance Pty Ltd (ABN 38 607 160 930; AR 1234944) (PIPL) and PIPL’s authorised distribution partners (including Petsy Pty Ltd 54 633 343 058; AR 1277359) (Petsy)); and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd (ABN 95 075 949 923; AFSL 420183) (PetSure). PIPL and Petsy are authorised representatives of PetSure. Any advice provided is general only, has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and may not be right for you. Consequently, before acting on this information, you should consider the appropriateness of this information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should obtain and consider the product disclosure statement (PDS) in deciding whether to acquire or continue to hold, Pet Insurance.

MEDIA RELEASE, 16th March 2020

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