There is currently no evidence that domestic animals can develop disease from the COVID-19 virus or, if infected, transmit it to other animals or people.
Nonetheless, we would like to offer some precautions that we and other veterinary professionals recommend pet families keep in mind as the situation with COVID-19 continues to develop:
- Remember to keep your pets needs in mind when implementing your emergency preparedness plan. The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) recommends “animal owners should continue to include pets and other animals in their emergency preparedness planning, including keeping a two-week supply of food and medications on hand.”
- Take this opportunity to remind your family that while we all love snuggling with our pets, practicing good hygiene is important. Even though we have no evidence that our pets can carry and transmit COVID-19, there are other diseases that can be passed from domestic animals to humans. Wash your hands after petting, playing or interacting with your pet.
- While there is no clear evidence that pets are able to transmit the COVID-19 virus, the CDC recommends that people sick with the virus or COVID-like symptoms avoid caring for their pets if possible. If you must care for your pet, limit contact and wash your hands BEFORE and AFTER pet interactions in an attempt to limit exposure for your pet.
- In an abundance of caution, if you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, please alert your veterinarian before having your pet seen for any health concerns. If it is possible your pet is contaminated with coronavirus, we don’t yet know whether veterinary hospital staff could be exposed to the COVID-19 virus when working with pets that had contact with exposed owners. It is best to discuss by phone how your veterinarian can best assist you and your pet while still protecting the staff in the event that your animal needs immediate medical attention.
Our Medical Director, Dr. Amy Alwood, provides additional information about COVID-19 and the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) below:
Scott Weese is a leading international infectious disease specialist and veterinarian. For more information about why animals may be affected differently, check out his blog: https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/2020/02/articles/animals/cats/covid-2-and-potential-animal-hosts/
Other good resources to monitor include:
- The CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html)
- Other entries on Dr. Weese’s blog https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/resources-pets/
- The client education site: Veterinary Partner (https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=9548687)