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expert reaction to media reports of a dog in Hong Kong being tested ‘weak positive’ for coronavirus

A dog in Hong Kong has reportedly tested positive for coronavirus.


Prof Jonathan Ball, Professor of Molecular Virology, University of Nottingham, said:

“There is no evidence that the human novel coronavirus can infect dogs and it would be incredible for a virus to make so many species jumps in such a short space of time!

“We have to differentiate between real infection and just detecting the presence of a virus – these are very different – and the fact that the test result was weakly positive would suggest that this is environmental contamination or simply the presence of coronavirus shed from the human contact that has ended up in the dog’s samples.

“In truth this is incredibly irresponsible because the last thing we need to do is create mass hysteria about the possibility of dogs being infected, and therefore potentially transmitting this virus when there is absolutely no evidence for this whatsoever.”


British Veterinary Association President Daniella Dos Santos said:

“The current advice from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) remains that the predominant route of transmission is human to human. Further advice from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association is that there is currently no evidence that pets can be infected with Covid-19 and this remains the case at the time of commenting on Friday 28 February (11.30am).

“The reported case of the Pomeranian dog in Hong Kong is undergoing further tests and it would be inappropriate to speculate until we know more. These tests should be able to determine whether the dog tested positive due to environmental contamination from the infected owner.

“Our advice to vets and pet owners is to follow Public Health England and NHS advice and guidance.”


All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:


The SMC also produced a Factsheet on COVID-19 which is available here:


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