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You Won’t Believe What the Center For Disease Control Says to do with your Pets and Covid-19

I can’t believe it. Especially since they told us pets were unable to get the virus in the beginning!

Oh well. This whole experience has been a work in progress in uncharted territory. However, after two cats in New York because the first pets to test positive… Did I mention 8 BIG cats at the Bronx Zoo, too? it’s true. Animals too can catch Covid-19. What do we have to do to protect them? The same as we do ourselves. Social distancing…

You can visit the full CDC story here but I’ve included some of their guidelines below. Hugs to your furry friends! (Socially distant ones of course…..)

Risk of animals spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to people:

Some coronaviruses that infect animals can sometimes be spread to humans and then spread between people, but this is rare. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) are examples of diseases caused by coronaviruses that originated in animals and spread to people. This is what is suspected to have happened with the virus that caused the current outbreak of COVID-19. However, we do not know the exact source of this virus. Public health officials and partners are working hard to identify the source of COVID-19. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person to person. The coronavirus most similar to the virus causing COVID-19 is the one that causes SARS.

The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, and talking. Recent studies show that people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.

Risk of people spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to animals

CDC is aware of a small number of pets, including dogs and cats, reportedexternal icon to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19. Only a few of the animals reported to be positive showed signs of illness.

The first caseexternal icon in the United States of an animal testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 was a tiger with a respiratory illness at a zoo in New York City. Samples from this tiger were collected and tested after several lions and tigers at the zoo showed signs of respiratory illness. Public health officials believe these large cats became sick after being exposed to a zoo employee who was infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. This investigation is ongoing.

We are still learning about this virus, but we know that it originally came from an animal source and is primarily spreading from person-to-person, but  it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations.

CDC is working with human and animal health partners to monitor this situation and will continue to provide updates as information becomes available. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.

What to do if you own pets

Until we learn more about how this virus affects animals, treat pets as you would other human family members to protect them from a possible infection.

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

There is a small number of animals around the world reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after having contact with a person with COVID-19. Talk to your veterinarian if your pet gets sick or if you have any concerns about your pet’s health.

Protect pets if you are sick

If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), you should restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would with people. Until we know more about this virus, people sick with COVID-19 should avoid contact with pets and other animals.

  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with your pet including, petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.
  • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.

If you are sick with COVID-19 and your pet becomes sick, do not take your pet to the veterinary clinic yourself. Call your veterinarian and let them know you have been sick with COVID-19. Some veterinarians may offer telemedicine consultations or other plans for seeing sick pets. Your veterinarian can evaluate your pet and determine the next steps for your pet’s treatment and care.

Stay healthy around animals

In the United States, there is no evidence that animals are playing a significant role in the spread of COVID-19.  Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.. However, because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals.

  • Wash your hands after handling animals, their food, waste, or supplies.
  • Practice good pet hygiene and clean up after pets properly.
  • Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s health.
  • Be aware that children 5 years of age and younger, people with weakened immune systems, and people 65 years of age and older are more likely to get sick from germs some animals can carry.

Joey Fortman

Hey! It's me Joey - catch me mornings 6-9a PST on 96.5 KOIT! Listen here anytime!

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