Coronavirus: ferret, mink, hamster, cat, dog… which animals are at risk of transmission?

Some animals are also affected by Covid-19. While most cannot transmit the virus to humans, caution is advised for some species.

Pangolin is an animal that could infect humans. So Covid-19 could very well be transmitted from one species to another.

So should we be concerned in France about our pets, who are most at risk of contracting this disease and potentially transmitting it to us?

To answer these questions, ANSES, the National Agency for Food Safety, Environment and Occupational Health, has summarized and updated a report already published last April on the role of pets in human transmission of the virus.

No role in the outbreak to date

New data collected and analyzed confirms “that today pets and wild animals do not play an epidemiological role in the maintenance and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in France, where the spread of the virus today is the result of person-to-person transmission through the respiratory tract.

Even if the study cautions: “Some specific situations, such as a high concentration of animals susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, require, however, vigilance in order not to create an animal reservoir favorable for the spread of the virus in the future.”


Indeed, cases of transmission of Covid-19 between different species are very rare, according to the LCI.

But because animals can contract the disease and develop symptoms, caution is advised. ANSES elaborates that this raises “the question of a possible risk to the constitution of non-human reservoir animals” and that particular vigilance must be exercised in the event of contact.

At the moment, only mink is incriminated

Several cases of transmission of coronavirus from minks to humans have been identified in Europe, for example in Denmark, as well as in Spain and the Netherlands, as well as in the United States.

Minks, which may show symptoms, can also transmit the virus to humans or retransmit it.

The example of Denmark made it possible to emphasize this. Remember that the multiplication of visions infected Covid, which was undoubtedly transmitted from people to animals, but the virus mutated and was re-transmitted to people. 12 people have been infected.

Result: The Danish government announced in early November that more than 15 million minks had been slaughtered.

Ferrets and hamsters to watch out for

As Loic Dombreval, veterinarian and LREM representative at Franceinfo, points out, ferrets belong to the same family as minks.

But in France there are about 60,000 domestic ferrets.

The veterinarian explains that ferret owners need to be vigilant and not get too close to their animal.

But we still need to be reassured, even if ferrets belong to the same family as minks, what happened in Denmark was also possible because it was in an intensive farm, so the virus was present there in large numbers.

With one ferret, the risk is less.

Hamsters are also at risk. for the development of the disease, as announced by ANSES

Dogs with a small infection and not currently infecting

The dogs, in turn, contracted Covid. Some even had symptoms, even if it was very rare, but no infection from animals to humans has been identified so far.

“A very small number of dogs have developed clinical signs in vivo given the very high levels of exposure to the virus (thousands of people infected with COVID-19 have been in close contact with their dogs). Tests done on contact dogs have not been able to demonstrate transmission of the virus between them,” ANSES assures.

infected cats

Cats can become sick and show symptoms, and they can also transmit the virus to each other. But there is no evidence to suggest that a cat could transmit the virus to humans or any other species, for that matter.

Chickens, turkeys, ducks… not infected

Rest assured, not a single case of natural infection has been found in chickens, turkeys and other ducks. And laboratory experiments show that they are not “susceptible and insensitive to SARS-CoV-2.”

Cows, bulls and pigs… no sensitivity

The same applies to cattle and pigs: the studies published so far show no risk, even if the ANSES states that “more research is needed to confirm or refute their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2.”

polluted felines

Several cases of keeping wild felines in captivity have been recorded. It’s about lions tigers, lions and puma who live in zoos.

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