The coronavirus is on the forefront of everyone’s minds. Here are some facts we know as of 3/18/2020 with new information continually evolving. Infectious disease experts, along with several other health care organizations, agree there is no evidence at this point that pets become ill from CORID-19 or that they can spread it to other animals, including humans. There has been a dog in Hong Kong that tested positive for the virus without any clinical symptoms. Experts from the School of Public Health of the University of Hong Kong and the College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences of the City of the University of Hong Kong believe the consistency and persistence of the results suggest the virus may have spread from the infected owner to the dog in this particular case. In other testing, IDEXX announced March 13th, that they have evaluated thousands of cat and dog specimens during validation of its new veterinary test systems for the COVID-19 virus and have obtained no positive results.
Although there have not been reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19, out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. If you are ill with COVID-19, be sure to tell your physician and public health official that you have a pet or other animal in your home. Have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet. If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with your pet or service animal. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. Additional guidance on managing pets in homes where people are sick with COVID-19 is available from the CDC.
If you are not ill with COVID-19, feel free to interact with your furry friend as you normally would. It is encouraged to practice good hygiene during times of interactions with your pet. Wash your hands before and after the interaction, keep your pet well-groomed, and regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material and toys.
As always, contact your vet for the latest updates on COVID-19. or the AVMA or CDC sites. While we are recommending these as good practices, it is important to remember there is currently no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19 to other animals, including people. Stay safe, keep your distance, and follow medical professional guidelines. We will all get through this as a nation. May God protect and bless each of your families!