Corovavirus - COVID-19 Information
Obviously there is much talk & extreme concern over the recently named pandemic caused by coronavirus (COVID-19). Please know that we are taking all necessary precautions to maintain not only a safe environment for you & your pet, but also a safe environment for our team so that we can continue to care for your pet. The following is a list of questions & answers regarding this virus & pets.
Can my pet get the COVID-19 virus? One dog has tested weak positive for COVID-19. The pet was tested multiple times over the course of several days. It is not certain whether or not the dog is actually infected or simply contaminated with genetic material from the virus. The dog, a 17-year old Pomeranian in Hong Kong, is not showing clinical signs. So at this point, the answer to this question is unclear. Authorities say that there is no evidence to support that pets can become “sick” from the COVID-19 virus. There is also no evidence suggesting that pets can spread the virus directly to other pets or humans.
What can I do to prepare for this pandemic in regards to my pets? If possible, have enough supplies on hand for 2-4 weeks in case you are not able to leave your house. This would include food, water and medication if your pet is on any. Get in the habit of washing your hands before & after interacting with your pet, and/or using hand sanitizer if washing isn’t an option. Speak to family members, friends and/or neighbors about caring for your pet in the event that you do end up needing their help.
What should I do with my pet if I suspect I have the COVID-19 virus? Ideally, an infected person should minimize contact with their pets by having someone else care for them. This is simply a precaution since we still aren’t 100% certain whether or not pets can become ill from, or spread, the virus. If this isn’t an option, interact sparingly with your pets & wash your hands before & after interacting with them. Wear a facemask around them, and do not hug or kiss them. If it is determined that you do have the virus, tell your healthcare provider about your pets & follow all instructions given to you from your doctor.
Don’t pets get coronavirus? There are many different types of coronaviruses with these divided into 3 groups that cause respiratory, enteric or whole-body symptoms. Many species of pets, including cats & dogs, can get different types of coronaviruses. The most common coronavirus in dogs affects the enteric (GI) system causing relatively mild symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). Although there is a vaccine for this particular coronavirus, it is not one recommended by experts because the disease is so self-limiting that the benefits do not outweigh the risks. The feline coronavirus is very common yet is often asymptomatic. Should there be symptoms, mild diarrhea is most common. This particular virus can mutate causing the more deadly feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) disease. Some of the more common human coronavirus diseases originated in animals. MERS – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome originated in camels. SARS – Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome originated in civets. COVID-19 seems to have originated in bats.
Will I be able to continue getting all of my pet’s medications? Hopefully! So far we haven’t run into any problems (at least no more than we ordinarily do!) ordering pharmaceuticals although it has been harder getting certain supplies such as masks.
Where can I get more information? The following websites have accurate & timely information: The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), WHO (World Health Organization), and the FDA (Food & Drug Administration). As we learn more we will also try to post updates.