COVID-19 and your pets


COVID-19 and your pets

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The COVID-19 Coronavirus is a global hot topic. Panic, don’t panic? Can my dog or cat get it? 

If you don’t read anything further, it is important to know that the World Health Organization (WHO) states that there is no evidence that dogs and cats can get the virus. 

At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. 

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that spread through person-to-person contact. It is important to note that coronaviruses are not new and that SARS and MERS, for example, are coronaviruses that cause similar infection symptoms to COVID-19, an abbreviation for “coronavirus disease 2019”.

According to the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, “Coronaviruses are common in several species of domestic and wild animals, including cattle, horses, dogs, cats, ferrets, camels, bats, and others.” However, it is important to understand how viruses spread and what the risk is for spread across species before we begin to panic. Remember, some species can be infected with a virus but not show symptoms of being sick or even transmit it. 

Now, we know what you are thinking, what about the Pomeranian?

A coronavirus patient’s dog in Hong Kong has tested positive for the virus. However, this test is described as a “weak positive” and it is reported that the dog has not shown symptoms of illness. Although various sources are speculating the validity of the positive result, we believe that sticking to the recommendations and updates of the WHO are best in situations like these. People should stay informed about how COVID-19 spreads before taking any drastic action. Nonetheless, if you have the virus, limiting a chance of transmission to animals is wise. If you contract COVID-19, limit your contact with your pets, just as you would your family and friends.  You also want to be washing your hands before and after touching your pets to limit the spread of other everyday germs. 

What about vaccination for my pet?

Currently, there is no vaccination against the COVID-19 coronavirus that your pet can receive. However, for added general protection, vaccinate your pet against common respiratory diseases like Bordetella, canine influenza and parainfluenza.

Should my pet wear a face mask?

The risk to your dog becoming infected is currently very low. 

How to prevent COVID-19 (and other viruses) from spreading

  • Wash your hands
  • Stop touching your face
  • Use a disinfectant to clean surfaces people have touched
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing 
  • If you suspect that you are ill, self-isolate and contact a doctor for advice and assistance
  • Generally, vaccinate your pets or speak to a veterinarian about possible diseases your pet may be susceptible to

To sum up, the WHO states that there is no evidence that dogs or cats can contract COVID-19. We therefore suggest keeping yourself informed and avoiding speculative web talk. As a rule, practice good general hygiene and self-isolate if you suspect that you are ill. 

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