COVID-19 And Your Pets
Unfortunately, over the last few weeks the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic has become a pandemic and has arrived at our back door here in Ohio. More and more stringent restrictions and closures and mobilization of the human healthcare system are being implemented to deal with and control the spread and provide treatment for those who are sick. We all should follow the precautions recommended by our healthcare providers.
Of course, at West Jefferson Animal Hospital, we all are concerned for the well-being of our family and friends including your pets. There are many types of coronaviruses some of which do affect dogs and cats, however, the COVID-19 virus responsible for the pandemic does not appear to affect our pets. In China, one geriatric dog tested weak positive for COVID-19 but did not become ill and is still being monitored. No other pets have tested positive or shown signs of coronavirus infection. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association COVID-19 webpage, IDEXX, a reference veterinary lab, has evaluated thousands of samples from dogs and cats as they develop a veterinary test for the COVID-19 virus. None of these samples have tested positive.[i]
Though our pets’ risks are minimal, the CDC does have recommendations for pet owners. Continue your pet’s normal daily routine including feeding and exercising. Use the same recommendations provided for yourself as far as avoiding large gatherings. If you become ill with the virus, ‘you should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.’[ii]