SEOUL, South Korea -- In South Korea, health officials have begun offering free COVID-19 tests for cats and dogs.
According to Good Morning America, the tests are available for confirmed patients who have pets that have a runny nose and fever.
“Samples were collected at the nose and rectum, and the samples were transferred to the Animal Sanitation Laboratory of the Seoul Institute of Health and Environment and are currently undergoing tests,” a Seoul Metropolitan government official said in a press release.
Seoul officials recommend that if a pet tests positive for COVID-19, it should be isolated, taken care of by owners who aren't elderly or children, and caretakers should wear masks and gloves. People are also told to avoid direct interaction with the pet, such as hugging and kissing.
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the risk of human to pet transmission is low, and while tests for pets aren't always available, it is an option.
According to ABC News, the first dog that tested positive for the virus in the U.S. died in Aug. 2020. The dog, in North Carolina, showed signs of respiratory distress before succumbing to the virus and died.
The CDC maintains that at this time, there is no evidence to suggest animals play a significant role in spreading COVID-19.