Coronavirus COVID-19 and Your Pet: People are asking… “What do I need to know?”
The news and media are filled with stories about coronavirus. As a veterinarian, a dog owner, and animal lover, I can relate to and understand the rising level of questions and worry about how to protect ourselves and our pets. You may have seen pictures in social media and advertisements where dogs and cats are wearing mask, gowns and booties; here are a few considerations for you to be proactive in keeping you and your pets healthy and safe.
First off, what is COVID-19 Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a part of a group of viruses that affect the respiratory system and may have flu or cold-like symptoms. COVID-19 was discovered in 2019 and is thought to have originated in bats and transmitted to humans.
Is my pet at risk from the COVID-19 coronavirus? Can my pet infect me?
There is still a lot to be understood with the Coronavirus and information is coming in daily. From what we believe there is a low risk of human to animal spread at this time. Although it is best to be informed and take precautions since in Hong Kong a dog tested positive with nasal and oral cavity samples for the virus and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservative Department (AFCD) has made the statement it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission. This is a single case that has been reported but still, it is a good idea for anyone infected with the virus to take precautions and limit contact with your pet(s) and others of course. Wash your hands and it is probably a good idea to not let your dog lick you on the face to minimize ways viruses can be transmitted.
Are there any reports of Coronavirus in animals in the United States?
The World Health Organization has reported that there are zero reported cases of coronavirus in domestic animals. “At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs and cats can be infected with the new coronavirus.”
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no animals in the United States have been identified with the virus, and there is no evidence that dogs or other pets can spread COVID-19. The CDC says, “while the virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person to person.” The CDC recommends people traveling to China avoid both live and dead animals, “but there is no reason to think that an animal or pets in the US might be a source of the infection with this new coronavirus.”
What is the best way to protect myself and my pet from COVID-19 Coronavirus?
The CDC recommends that people who are sick with COVID-19 restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would restrict your contact with other people. When possible, a member of the household other than the individual who is ill should care for any animals in the household. Those infected with COVID-19 should avoid contact with animals, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, or sharing food. Those who must care for a pet, or who will be around animals while sick, should wear and appropriate facemask and wash hands thoroughly before and after interacting with those animals.
The case in Hong Kong where the dog tested weak positive from the nose and mouth area, it was the Dog owner that tested positive for COVID-19 and their dog is showing no signs of respiratory distress or illness. Authorities do believe this is a case of human to animal transmission but stress that it is not cause for alarm in the United States.
Common sense and good hygiene best practices.
Since animals can spread other diseases and parasites to people, it is always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals.
- WASH YOUR HANDS!!
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid having your dog or cat lick your face.
- Clean and disinfect common areas frequently.
- Avoid people who are sick (for both you and your pets).
If you have any questions visit CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People website.
How am I going to keep my dogs and me safe from the coronavirus?
Today I am going to take my 2 dogs for a walk.
They will be on leash so I can control where they go and who they interact with the entire time. I will wash my hands before and after our walk. I am also giving my dogs and myself supplements to help the immune system.
Plus, I am going to share a Corgi and Ridgeback hug with both of my pups….no social distancing required!
I am a strong advocate in eating healthy, exercising, taking your supplements daily, all will help keep you and your pets healthy.
Still have questions?
If you would like a 1 on 1 consultation, I can review your pet’s medical history, and give you some recommendations for diet, supplements, and also some specific exercises to keep your pet’s immune system happy.
Personally, I use Chinese acupuncture points and teach acupressure to open the meridians and let the Qi flow. I would love to talk to you and help you keep you and your pet healthy.