IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT PETS AND COVID-19
Dr Julie Schell BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, ACVCHM, CVC
- There is no evidence that cats and dogs, or other domestic animals can be infected with SARS-COV-2 causing COVID-19 disease. They can be infected with other, different strains of Coronavirus but not SARS-COV-2. COV-19 is a disease specifically of humans, and it is not expected to transfer from humans to pets or vice versa.
- Animals can carry parasites, and bacteria and other viruses that can transfer to humans. Therefore, proper and safe animal handling and husbandry techniques are always important to consider. These include deworming dogs and outdoor cats monthly and indoor cats yearly; vaccinating pets, grooming pets (do not let fecal material accumulate on our pet’s tails. Washing their feet after they have been outside before entering your house.), cooking the pet’s food before feeding home cooked foods (no raw meat), and washing hands well after cleaning/handling pets and before eating.
- Pets are good for people! Exercise and decreasing stress are good for your immune system, and pets enable humans to exercise and they help decrease stress.
- That one canine case in Hong Kong who tested weak positive most likely was coughed or sneezed on by their owner, and thus the dog may have been a temporary fomite, but not infected. It is not likely that the virus would survive long on the surface of the dog’s fur to then infect another person.
- We have not seen any pets with COVID-19.
- There is no evidence that pets can be a source of infection to people.
- Strengthen your and your pet’s immune system. Practice methods to keep yourself and your pets as clean, stress-free and immunocompetent as possible. This includes picking up feces from your backyard and cleaning litterboxes regularly, washing your pet’s feet before they enter your house, washing your floors often, weekly bathing of dogs with veterinary recommended shampoo, feeding healthy food to your pets recommended by your veterinarian, deworming and vaccinating your pet according to your veterinarian’s recommendations, working with your veterinarian to help keep your pets pain free including treating dental pain and joint pain to name a few.
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