Is your pet at risk for the COVID-19 virus?
These days, the COVID-19 outbreak is at the top of everyone’s mind, and for good reason. We are all adapting to our new realities and the changes that have come with them. There are many questions that people are still looking for answers to, and many pet owners are left asking, “Can my pet get Coronavirus?” FoMA is here to help you answer some important questions regarding your pet.
- Can my pet get the coronavirus?
So far, there is no substantial evidence that dogs or cats can easily transmit the COVID-19 virus. There has been confirmed evidence of the virus in a Pomeranian and a German Shepard, though neither showed any symptoms. Several cats across the world have also tested positive for COVID-19, and recently, two pet cats in New York tested positive. While these pet felines didn’t show symptoms, a cat from Belgium came down with respiratory symptoms, vomiting, and diarrhea as a result of COVID-19. A widely circulated headline news story also confirmed that eight big cats at the Bronx Zoo have also tested positive for the virus. These animals are showing mild respiratory symptoms and coughs. It is assumed that these cases at the Bronx Zoo are from contact with asymptomatic humans, and were transmitted from human-to-animal. There is currently no evidence that pets can transmit the virus back to humans, but anyone infected with the virus should quarantine from their pets and their people, alike, to minimize the risk of transmission. That said, it is recommended that ferrets and exotic pets, for which there is even less data, are kept in a safe enclosure and away from sick individuals.
- How can I protect my pet from COVID-19?
As with humans, there is no vaccine that can currently protect your pet from the Coronavirus. Additionally, testing for your pets is unnecessary at this time and likely not possible. However, there are steps you can take to ensure the health and safety of your pet during these uncertain times. By practicing social distancing, you can protect yourself, your family, and your pets from COVID-19. When walking your dog, avoid dog parks and stay six feet away from other humans, and animals at all times. Do not let your dog approach, sniff, or play with another animal while outside your home. To substitute these experiences, it is important to spend extra time playing with your pet indoors to keep them active and engaged while socially distancing with you in the house.
- Can we learn anything from other Coronaviruses?
We know a lot more about other coronaviruses and how they affect pets, which can help us understand how COVID-19 may impact pets. FCoV is a previous coronavirus that impacted domestic cats, but tended to have mild gastrointestinal symptoms rather than respiratory ones. CCoV is a canine coronavirus that is highly infectious and can range from diarrhea to debilitating gastrointestinal issues. So if you are concerned about your pet, monitor your pet’s health and call your veterinarian with any questions or concerns.
We are learning more about the COVID-19 virus every day and our understanding of what is true is evolving constantly. For now, while socially isolating in your home for the majority of each day, continue to engage with your pets and use your time with them as an escape from the daily news cycle and monotony. In addition, it is wise to devise a plan for your pet in case you become sick. Choose a trusted person to take care of your pet if you are hospitalized or quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19. Keep a crate and extra food at your house, and keep all of your pet’s identification and vaccine records, and other documents, on hand. Your pet can be a great friend for you during this time, and while it is important to ensure your pet’s health, as long as you are keeping yourself safe, you can be confident in the health of your pet.
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