Coronavirus in Animals


The virus that causes COVID-19 is different from other coronaviruses that affect domestic animals. Learn how to keep pets and livestock, as well as yourself, safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronaviruses infect many animals including pigs, domestic and wild birds, bats, rodents, dogs & cats, and cattle. These viruses are divided into three groups and have been known for more than 50 years to cause various diseases in animals depending on the group and strain of the virus.  They cause acute and chronic diseases in animals such as respiratory and gastro-enteric diseases; neurologic diseases; and liver disease.

SARS-CoV that affected humans in 2003 world-wide and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus currently affecting people in the Middle East and Europe are said to have an animal origin. Although the exact animal vectors are not known, recent discovery suggests that bats could be the natural reservoir for that group of virus (SARS-CoV). Many of these animal origin coronaviruses can infect humans and cause mild to severe disease including death.

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