As we come into 6 months of this pandemic in the United States a lot of things have slowly started to return back to the way they once were; while others have established a new normal. Some of these being; face coverings, being socially distant from all people other than in your household and waiting in line to enter stores. The world is a different place and not in the way many of us forecasted their 2020 year to be. Among the stress, confusion and panic during this time many questions come to the minds of pet owners.
What about my pet?
Can pets get Covid-19?
Do they show symptoms?
Can they pass it to others?
What can we do to protect them?
This post will dive into these questions and give you the best resources to keep you and your fur babies safe during this pandemic.
Can dog/ cats get the virus?
The simple answer seems to be yes. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) there have been cases of animals, specifically pets, catching the virus in the US, Hong Kong, and in Belgium. The first suspected pet case in the US was a in North Carolina with a pug named Winston. According to the AKC he initially tested positive to the virus from being exposed to it by people within his household who had also tested positive. When Winston’s test result were looked at closer, Lyndsay Cole of USADA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services explained that he did not reach the case definition of a positive test. During the short period of being determined as a positive patient Winston did not show any other symptoms of the virus. The other known US cases of pets from the CDC are 2 cats New York who showed mild respiratory symptoms, but no individuals in the household that had tested positive. The CDC believes the virus may have been transmitted to the cats from contact with a person outside the home.
Other animals have picked up a strain of the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. This strain was what the big cats at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for. According the reports from the Wildlife Conservation Society these cats are doing well and their coughing has reduced.
Can Pets transmit virus?
It is clear that animals can contract the virus but when it comes to transmitting it to others there is not enough evidence to support that claim, according to the World Health Organization. Although pets have tested positive it could be concluded that the virus goes from human-to-animal, but not necessarily vice versa. The cases presented make it hard to gauge transmission because although animals have tested positive, they have showed little to no symptoms of the actual virus. According to the CDC the cases of the cats in New York showed signs of some respiratory issues but nothing that needed immediate emergency attention. The CDC has come out with a state declaring that
“there is no reason to think that any animal or pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this novel corona virus.”
“The transmission of COVID- 19 from person to person is seen through respiratory droplets of an infected person coughing, sneezing or speaking.” This has been seen as the only way the spread has occurred. The AVMA has stated in accordance to pets that the virus survives better on smoother serves and there is no correlation of the virus spreading through an animal’s fur.
“[The] Purus material such as a pet’s fur tend to absorb and trap pathogens making it harder to contract them through touch.” Gail Golab, Chief Veterinary Officer of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
“There is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.”
How to you and your keep pets safe?
To keep your pets safe you can apply the standard guidelines set by the CDC to your pets, or as Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary officer for the AKC states by using common sense practices and general practices of good hygiene will keep your household and your pets safe.
The CDC’s guidelines and recommendations of the AKC for pets are:
- Keeping animals six feet apart from people and animals outside your household.
- Keep pets leashed when outside.
- Avoid parks where other pets are unleashed
- Wash hands after coming into contact with other pet’s fur
- Pets should not wear masks.
From recommendation of the CDC, AKC, and AVMA;
If you suspect your pet to be showing any signs of discomfort when breathing or other signs of illness CALL your vet. It is important to understand the guidelines your clinic has in place for testing and the procedures they have for appointments and care.
All vet visit should be kept to the minimum as with all interactions with the outside. If it is an emergency the CDC has set out guidelines for Veterinary hospitals and clinics. It is important to stay informed on the guidelines and procedures your vet has in place. If you pet is due for an annual exam, ask your vet and see if their routine appointment can be rescheduled for another time. AVMA states that annual appointments that do not include shots can be pushed pack a couple of months. For the time we are in it is important to always call ahead for your visit even in an emergency.
For further information check out: