Picking food for fussy dogs can be frustrating. The first step is to ensure you are feeding your dog a complete and balanced diet. Generally speaking, smaller dogs tend to be pickier eaters than larger breeds. It is helpful to....Read More
Can your pet hamster spread Covid-19?
Hong Kong researchers have found evidence that pet hamsters can spread Covid-19 to people, and linked the animals to human infections in the city.
According to an article in the Bloomberg, the study in The Lancet provided the first documented evidence of hamster-to-human transmission of the Delta variant. Researchers from the University of Hong Kong and the city’s government found two independent cases of such transmission, after testing viral swabs and blood samples from animals collected from local pet shops.
The hamsters in question were infected around Nov. 21 in 2021, before they were imported to Hong Kong, suggesting pet animal trade may be a pathway that facilitates Covid to spread across borders, according to the study.
The Hong Kong government ordered the culling of thousands of hamsters after the infections at pet shops. It advised members of the public to surrender hamsters purchased on or after Dec. 22 for “humane dispatch,” after some pet store workers and customers tested positive for the virus, and some of the animals imported from the Netherlands at the store tested preliminary positive.
Results of a study published in 2020 also suggest that features associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection in golden hamsters resemble those found in humans with mild infections.
Hamsters are “at higher risk than other animals such as mice”, said infectious diseases expert Dr. Paul Tambyah to CNA.
This is because hamsters have the ACE receptor which the SARS-CoV-2 virus needs to bind to in order to enter cells to reproduce and cause the COVID-19 disease, he explained.
Andy Holmes Unsplash
should pet hamsters be tested for Covid-19?
After Hong Kong’s decision to cull hamsters over fears that they could spread COVID-19, Singapore’s Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) told CNA that it is monitoring the development “closely”, but that it is not necessary at the moment to conduct routine testing of pets for the coronavirus.
Small mammals like hamsters are required to meet AVS’ veterinary conditions for import, said the agency’s group director of professional and scientific services Dr. Chang Siow Foong.
Routine testing of pets for SARS-CoV-2 is “not recommended at this stage”, Dr Chang added, as the spread of COVID-19 is still predominantly a result of human-to-human transmission.
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