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  • Writer's pictureThe Vet Experts

(COVID-19) and Your Pets - Everything You Need to Know

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Can pets get the new coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is aware of very few of pets, including dogs and cats, outside the United States reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 after close contact with individuals with COVID-19. The CDC has not received any reports of pets getting sick with COVID-19 in the USA. As of April 7, there is no proof that pets can spread the virus to people. An animal testing positive for COVID-19 at the United States' first case had been a tiger with a respiratory disease in a zoo in New York City. Public health officials believe these large cats became sick after being subjected to some zoo employee who actively spread the virus. It appears it could spread from people to animals in certain scenarios, although researchers and authorities are continuously learning about the new coronavirus. At this moment, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets or livestock, can spread COVID-19 disease to other people. That being said, is still important that pet owners and veterinarians strictly observe hand-washing along with other infection-control steps, as summarized by the CDC when managing animals.

Is there a COVID-19 vaccine for dogs and cats?

There is not any vaccine for COVID-19 for animals or for people at this time. Veterinarians are familiarized with other coronaviruses. Similar but different coronavirus species cause common diseases in domestic animals. Many dogs, for instance, are vaccinated for another species of coronavirus (Canine Coronavirus) as puppies. Though these vaccines don't cross protect for COVID-19.

Can veterinarians test for COVID-19 in pets?

Yes. As of March 15, the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in the College of Veterinary Medicine has the capability to check for the virus in pets. A veterinarian must submit the test request and must include the rationale for the test. Requests will be delivered to the state animal health officer and state public health veterinarian on a case-by-case basis for acceptance.

If I'm diagnosed with COVID-19, how do I protect my pet?

The American Veterinary Medical Association and also the CDC urge that anybody sick with COVID-19 should keep separation from household pets and other animals while you're ill with COVID-19, just like you would with other people. Though there have not been reports of pets getting ill with COVID-19 from the USA, it is still suggested until more information is known about the virus, that individuals sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals.

Whenever possible, have another member of your family care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including sharing food, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and petting. If your furry friend must be cared for by you or be around other animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you socialize with pets.

Should my pet wear a face mask in public?

No. Your pet may not be protected by face masks and applying masks may cause breathing difficulties.

Direct person-to-person contact is the most likely way that COVID19 is transmitted (e.g., being closer than 6 feet of an infected individual) for at least 10 minutes. Moreover, the possibility exists for disease from contaminated surfaces (i.e., somebody could touch a contaminated surface and then touch their face: eyes, nose, mouth), but that is thought to be a much less likely means of transmission, as the quantity decreases on surfaces, as time goes by.

If someone needs to enter a house to feed/water/walk a furry friend out of a COVID-19 house/apartment, the next measures are suggested to decrease the risk to the entering individual:

  • Wear gloves and clothing that are easily washed

  • Bring a plastic bag

  • Avoid touching surfaces at the house as much as possible

  • As you depart the house place gloves into the plastic bag

  • After you tend to the pet and go home, wash clothes and wash hands with water and soap for 20 minutes

  • Wearing a cloth mask can protect other people from the respiratory secretions as you venture out in public

If someone needs to take the pet(s) from the house:

  • Wear gloves and clothing that can be easily washed

  • Avoid touching surfaces in the house

  • Possessing a leash or carrier to use or put the pet in can be beneficial so the pet can be taken out of the home safely

  • Keep the pets together and away from other pets for 14 days out of extreme caution

  • Wash hands/clothes after leaving the home

  • Wearing a fabric mask can protect other people from the respiratory secretions as you go out in public

With any other questions about your pets and COVID-19, or to schedule an appointment at Companion Veterinary & Urgent Care Center, please give us a call at (941) 896-9420.

Be safe, and be healthy.

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