Seoul offers free COVID-19 testing for pets

A Cocker Spaniel with a runny nose and fever gets the first free test for pets.

SEOUL -- South Korea’s capital has started free COVID-19 tests for cats and dogs if a confirmed pet owner requests for them to be tested.

The first animal tested Wednesday was a Cocker Spaniel after a confirmed patient reported the pet had 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,” Seoul Metropolitan government official said in a press release.

Seoul officials recommend that pets who test positive for COVID-19 should be isolated in a separate space and taken care of by family members other than older people and children. Individuals should also wear masks and gloves while tending to the animal's needs and people should avoid direct contact such as hugging and kissing.

Cost effective testing is still not always available in the United States but testing for pets, while rare, is actually available.