We have been receiving questions regarding the coronavirus COVID-19 and household pets. It is important to note that the COVID-19 virus is a part of a large family of coronaviruses. Some strains can cause illness in people, which is what we are seeing today across the globe, while other strains cause illness in certain species of non-humans such as cattle, bats, canines, and felines.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is currently no evidence that animals, including companion animals such as pet dogs or cats, can spread COVID-19 to humans. There is also no evidence to support that imported animals or animal products pose a risk of spreading COVID-19 to humans.
If you own pets and are sick or suspect you may COVID-19
If you are sick or suspect you may be sick with COVID-19 and are able to quarantine from your pets, you should restrict contact with your pets and other animals just as you would with other people.
While there are no reported cases of animals transmitting the virus to humans, it is recommended that you take the proper precautions should you become ill until more information is known about the virus.
If possible, have other members of your household or a family friend take care of your pets while you quarantine. If this is not an option, you should avoid contact with your pet including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must have contact with your pets, wash your hands before and after interacting with them and limit contact as much as possible.
Though there is little evidence, it may be possible for an animal to carry the virus on their coats if he or she has been in close contact with an infected person. Though it is unconfirmed, the American Veterinary Medical Association addressed those concerns below:
“COVID-19 appears to be primarily transmitted by contact with an infected person’s bodily secretions, such as saliva or mucus droplets in a cough or sneeze.COVID-19 might be able to be transmitted by touching a contaminated surface or object (i.e., a fomite) and then touching the mouth, nose, or possibly eyes, but this appears to be a secondary route. Smooth (non-porous) surfaces (e.g., countertops, door-knobs) transmit viruses better than porous materials (e.g., paper money, pet fur), because porous, and especially fibrous, materials absorb and trap the pathogen (virus), making it harder to contract through simple touch.
Because most pet hair is porous and also fibrous, it is very unlikely that a person would contract COVID-19 by petting or playing with a pet. However, because animals can spread other diseases to people and people can also spread diseases to animals, it’s always a good idea to wash hands before and after interacting with animals; ensure the pet is kept well-groomed; and regularly clean the pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys.”
If you have become sick with COVID-19 and been in close contact with your pet, please limit their exposure to other unexposed individuals in your household. In other words, if you are quarantining and have been snuggling with your animals, you should quarantine your exposed pets. If your pet is an indoor/outdoor animal (particularly cats), it is a good idea to keep them inside for the time-being.
Again, there is currently no evidence that animals can transmit the virus to humans, but these precautions are a good idea considering the evolving nature of the coronavirus.
Keep Your Home Clean
It is important to frequently disinfect commonly used surfaces, and keep bedding, toys, and clothing laundered to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and best protect your family and pets. Some commonly used disinfectants include:
- Isopropyl alcohol (70%), commonly called rubbing alcohol
- Diluted bleach consisting of 4 teaspoons of bleach per 1 quart of water or 20 milliliters of bleach into 1 liter of water
- 0.5% Hydrogen peroxide
- 0.1% Sodium hypochlorite
If you need to seek veterinary care and are infected with or have been exposed to COVID-19, please contact our office and remain in quarantine. We can discuss the best way to address your pet’s problem over the phone to best protect our patients, staff, and patrons. If you need prescription refills and you are in quarantine, contact us so that we can mail your pet’s medication. For more information about how to keep your pet safe and healthy amidst the global pandemic, contact Horizon Veterinary Clinic today.