Coronavirus and your Pets

04/06/2020 9:30 PM | Anonymous

With the rapid spread of the COVID-19 disease from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, it’s hard to know where to turn for information. Many of you are as concerned about your pets as you are about your human family. You want the facts to help keep your whole family – furry, feathered, scaly, or human – safe. Although six large cats and tigers at the Bronx Zoo were recently diagnosed with COVID-19, experts believe human to animal transmission seems to be quite rare. Your cats are probably fine, and there’s no reported evidence that pets can spread the virus to humans. Recommendations may change as understanding of the virus and associated disease changes, so be sure to check with your vet and/or monitor the shared sources at the bottom of this newsletter regularly for new information.

What do you need to know?
First, it’s early days in both the outbreak and in our knowledge of the virus.  We know that the COVID-19 is a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a newly recognized member of the coronavirus family that appears to primarily infect humans. Other coronaviruses are responsible for things like colds in humans. This particular coronovirus is spreading rapidly because humans don’t yet have immunity built up in our populations. This is why staying home as much as possible, disinfecting surfaces, and washing your hands are important to slow the spread of the virus throughout our community.

Can I get SARS-CoV-2 from my dog or cat?
As of now, there’s little indication that dogs or cats are likely to carry or transmit the virus to humans; however there is the rare chance this can happen. The biggest concern right now is pets acting as fomites -- a virus-contaminated surface.  So, for now, avoid snuggling your pets with your face and as always, wash your hands after handling or picking up after your pet

Can my dog or cat get SARS-CoV-2 from a person?
Possibly. There has been at least one case where a dog tested positive for the virus after being exposed to an infected human.  However, human-to-pet transmission seems to be quite rare.

Can my veterinarian test my pet for SARS-CoV-2?
Probably not, and it’s probably not necessary.  Right now, in many countries, there aren’t enough resources to test all humans showing symptoms.  If your pet has a cough, a fever, or is otherwise ill, there are many other things that are far more likely to be causing those signs.

My pet has an appointment, but I’m not feeling well.
If you or anyone in your household is running a fever or showing other signs of illness, please stay home and take care of yourself. Call you vet to reschedule your appointment

Where can I learn more?
This article on Veterinary Partner has compiled a list of frequently updated and reliable resources on COVID-19 as well as the answers to some frequently asked questions:
Veterinary Partner COVID-19 Article

The AVMA has created an informative web page covering general issues COVID-19 as it pertains to humans and pets: 
AVMA COVID-19 Info

The Worms and Germs Blog is providing frequent reports on this issue: 
Worms and Germs Blog

The CDC website is a resource for human-specific info:
CDC COVID-19 Info

And also has a FAQ section specific to pets: 
CDC Coronavirus and Pets FAQ
 
As with so many things in life, exercising common sense and some extra care, plus lots of hand washing and sanitizing every time you touch or snuggle with you pet, will benefit us all.


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