Pictures of cats and dogs wearing face masks in China, amid a rising number of coronavirus cases around the globe, are stirring fears among pet owners.
Coronaviruses are known to circulate in mammals and birds, so does that mean pets can catch the novel coronavirus that's in the news from humans?
According to Prof Li Lanjuan a member of the senior expert team from China's National Health Commission, pets can contract the virus if they come in contact with an affected person. It was this statement that made owners in China resort to makeshift protective clothing and surgical masks for their pets.
However, we couldn't find veterinary scientists that shared Prof Lanjuan's opinion.
Many experts explain that while there are different types of coronaviruses, they rarely jump from one species to another and few cause severe conditions.
Veterinary nurse Sarah James, who works at Bought By Many, says: "Feline coronavirus is common. It spreads from cats to cats and it can cause diarrhoea. 40% of cats will be infected with feline coronavirus at some point in their lives.
"Canine coronavirus disease, transmitted when dogs lick infected faeces or contaminated food or water - can cause abdominal pain and make them vulnerable to secondary infections.
"However, these strains are species-specific. And although the one currently infecting humans is likely to have originated from wild animals, it would not be able to infect domestic pets."
The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirms that there is no cause for concern.
"At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus," says the WHO on its Coronavirus Myth Busters page.
But this doesn't mean you should be lax about hygiene as there are a lot of other viruses and bacteria pets can transfer to us and vice-versa.
"It is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans," advises the WHO.
You can also prevent species-specific coronaviruses by maintaining a good level of hygiene. Bought By Many's Sarah James recommends regularly disinfecting litter trays and food/water bowls and clearing out cat and dog faeces quickly to prevent the spread of viruses.