Corona Virus and Our Four-Legged Furry Friends
There’s been a lot of information out there (albeit, some a bit conflicting) about dogs and COVID-19. Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) communicated that dogs cannot transmit the Corona Virus.
With that we wanted to share some information and tips from other expert groups, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE ) being shared with veterinarians and owners on the subject.
Can COVID-19 infect pets? Currently, there is limited evidence that companion animals can be infected with the COVID-19 virus and no evidence that pet dogs or cats can be a source of infection to other animals or to humans.
Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following:
“You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. 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.”
If my pet has been in contact with someone who is sick from COVID-19, can it spread the disease to other people? While we do not yet know for sure, there is limited evidence that companion animals can be infected with or spread the COVID-19 virus. We also do not know if they could get sick from this new coronavirus. Additionally, there is currently no evidence that companion animals could be a source of infection to people.
What should I do if my pet develops an unexplained illness and was around a person with documented COVID-19 infection? We don’t yet know if companion animals can get infected by SARS-Cov-2 (the new coronavirus) or sick with COVID-19. If your pet develops an unexplained illness and has been exposed to a person with COVID-19, talk to the public health official working with the person with COVID-19. If your area has a public health veterinarian, the public health official will consult with them or another appropriate official. If the state public health veterinarian, or other public health official, advises you to take your pet to a veterinary clinic, call your veterinary clinic before you go to let them know that you are bringing a sick pet that has been exposed to a person with COVID-19. This will allow the clinic time to prepare an isolation area. Do not take the animal to a veterinary clinic unless you are instructed to do so by a public health official.
PLEASE NOTE: Coronavirus infections are common in both animals and humans and there are strains that affect both dogs (canine coronavirus is enteric and can cause mild diarrhea) and cats (feline coronavirus can cause feline infectious peritonitis – FIP). However, it is important to note that these are distinctly different variants of coronavirus and are not associated with the current COVID-19 outbreak. Moreover, the canine coronavirus vaccine available in some markets intended to protect against enteric coronavirus is not licensed for protection against respiratory infections and there is no evidence that it will provide cross-protection against infection by COVID-19 since the enteric and respiratory viruses are distinctly different strains.
Some key takeaway advice to keep in mind during this time:
- Since there is no evidence that pets can be infected with or spread COVID-19, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare.
- Although there are no reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, owners should always wash their hands before and after they interact with animals and until more is known, pet owners should avoid contact with animals they are unfamiliar with.
- If owners are sick with COVID-19, they should avoid contact with animals in their household, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If they need to care for their pet or be around animals while they are sick, they should wash their hands before and after they interact with them and wear a face mask.
From all of us at My Pooch & Co., stay safe and enjoy working from home with your dog!
World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA)
World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)
World Health Organization (WHO)
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)