Currently, the advice from governments across the UK is that there is limited evidence to suggest that companion animals can contract COVID-19 and if they do, they tend to show only mild symptoms and recover within a few days. The evidence available at present suggests that coronavirus:
- May pass from infected humans to certain pets such as cats and ferrets following close contact
- Does not easily pass between cats or most other pets, but this cannot be ruled out
- May pass between ferrets and humans based on the evidence from mink infections
Ferrets are known to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19. As a precautionary measure, government advice to ferret owners is that they should isolate their ferret for 21 days if:
- They or a member of their household are self-isolating
- They have brought their ferret to England or Scotland from a country not on the travel corridor list or, for Wales that they have recently returned to Wales with their pet through the Pet Travel Scheme
Isolation means avoiding contact with either ferrets or people from other households. Although it is advised that an owner isolates their ferret for 21 days, the owner only needs to isolate for the required 14 days.
If a ferret needs emergency veterinary care, government advise that the owner can arrange to have it taken to the vet but should notify staff of the situation before visiting the practice.
Government advice on ferrets specific to each country in the UK is available as follows:
Northern Ireland: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-animal-owners#toc-3
For further advice from governments across the UK to pet owners on the current UK status for COVID-19 covering pets and ferrets, please see our section on ‘Government advice for Pet Owners’ here. Please ensure you regularly check for any updates to Government advice.