We have all heard a lot on the news lately about coronavirus and COVID-19, the specific human coronavirus currently infecting humans and causing concerns globally.
Should we be concerned about our 4 legged companions?
According to Dr. Niels Pederson of UCDavis School of Veterinary Medicine and a renowned expert on infectious diseases, the short answer is no. “Although coronaviruses occur in virtually every species of animal, including humans, you won’t get or give the coronavirus to your pet Although coronaviruses can jump from one host to another, the process is slow and requires significant genetic change. There is no evidence that coronaviruses of our common veterinary species have entered humans or vice versa.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no animals in the United States have been identified with COVID-19, and there is no evidence that companion pets can spread COVID-19.
Now, what about that dog in Hong Kong?
According to the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois, the dog in Hong Kong who tested weakly positive for COVID-19 was in close contact with a human who tested positive for COVID-19 and was likely shedding large quantities of the virus in their environment. This led to the virus being in the dog’s nose, just as there would be evidence of the virus on the floor in the room. The dog is not sick or showing any symptoms.
How do I protect my pet from COVID-19?
Since your companion pet is not at risk of getting ill, there are no specific guidelines to protect them from infection; however, if you are to become ill with COVID-19, the CDC recommends you restrict contact with pets, just as your would other people. This is to protect OTHER PEOPLE from becoming infected from contact with your pet. Avoid snuggling, being kissed or licked and sharing food.
We also recommend the following:
- Make sure you have identified a family member to care for your pet, in the event you become ill.
- Make sure you are well stocked with food and extra supplies (including medications) and have a crate or carrier on hand, in case you need to quickly move your companion.
- Keep your pet’s vaccines up-to-date in the event you need to board your pet.
As always, common-sense practices are the smartest practices. Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water. Stay home if you’re sick and avoid close contact with other people who are ill.
We hope this clears up any concerns or questions you may have. For further assistance, please contact us at 209-527-5855.
School of Veterinary Medicine University of Illinois Coronavirus and Pets: FAQ’s For Owners March 5, 2020/Infectious Disease/PublicHealth/Dogs
UCDavis School of Veterinary Medicine Can Pets Contract Coronavirus From Humans or Vice Versa? Feb. 6, 2020 by Trina Wood