COVID-19 and Pets: Updates (April 6, 2020)

The coronavirus causing COVID-19 in humans has been reportedly found in two dogs and two cats that were living with infected humans in Hong Kong and Belgium; however, many more dogs and cats living with infected people have tested negative. Additionally, a veterinary diagnostic lab in the United States has tested thousands of dogs and cats from the United States, South Korea, Canada and Europe, including “hot beds” of human infections—none have tested positive. Although there are multiple unpublished studies with initial results suggesting domestic animals might be experimentally infected with COVID-19, this does not necessarily mean dogs and cats will be infected with normal, real-life interactions.

A tiger at a New York zoo has tested positive for the virus causing COVID-19, and several other tigers and lions at the zoo had respiratory symptoms. It is believed these animals became sick after exposure to an infected employee. No other animals at this zoo are showing symptoms. This situation is continuing to be monitored.

At this time, there have been no reports of pets with illness caused by COVID-19 in the United States. Infectious disease experts currently agree there is no evidence that pets spread the infection to humans.

For more information about COVID-19 and pets, please check out the AVMA’s resources page.

What should you do?

If you are NOT ILL with COVID-19, you do not need to alter interactions with your pets; however, you should continue (or start) typical good hygiene practices. It’s recommended you wash hands before and after interacting with pets or their food, supplies, or waste.

If you ARE INFECTED with COVID-19, it is recommended you restrict contact with animals since we do not yet fully understand this virus. You should take the same precautions with pets that you would with human family members. Another person should handle pet care if possible. If you have a service animal or otherwise must interact with your pet, wear a facemask; don’t share food, hug, or kiss them; and be sure to wash hands before and after every interaction.

Because we currently believe COVID-19 is primarily transmitted from person to person, it is NOT recommended to test pets for this virus. If this recommendation changes over time, our diagnostic lab has developed and validated a COVID-19 test that will be readily available.

As always, please give us a call/text at (417) 334-7696 or email at accbranson@gmail.com with questions or concerns.

Take care, everyone!

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