Updates: COVID-19 and Your Pets

With many cities around the country still on a stay-at-home order, it’s essential to keep abreast of the facts. The information that our healthcare providers are giving us is continually changing as we learn more about what COVID-19 can do and how it spreads.

Today we thought it would be a great idea to take a look at what new recommendations health professionals are making in regards to COVID-19 and your pets.

Can I get COVID-19 From Pets?

While most people have been listening to their government officials when it comes to staying at home and observing proper social distancing, what about our pets? Can an animal get COVID-19, and can they pass it on to our loved ones?

As far as your pet being infected by COVID-19, the likelihood is very low. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has only been made aware of a very small number of pets becoming infected. These reported animal cases also only occurred after the pet came in close contact with people who were infected by the virus that causes COVID-19.

While an animal may not get infected even after coming into contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive, it’s still possible to spread the disease. The disease can stay on an animal’s fur. The next person who touches the animal can then get the disease. The likelihood of actually catching COVID-19 from a sick animal is extremely low, but an animal can be a carrier between two humans. Because of this, animals should be treated like any other member of the family.

What Animals Can Get COVID-19?

What health experts know about COVID-19 is continuously changing as they learn more about the disease. So far, there have only been a few animals that have tested positive for COVID-19. These animals include dogs, domestic cats, one tiger, and minks. These are the only animals so far who have tested positive, and it was only after being in close contact with a human who also was infected.

Healthcare professionals are working now to figure out if any animals are more or less susceptible to catching COVID-19. More information will undoubtedly be forthcoming. So far, studies are suggesting that poultry and pigs are not vulnerable to COVID-19.

Of the animal species that scientists have looked at, it seems like cats are the most susceptible to spreading the disease. Cats have even been able to spread the virus to other cats in a laboratory setting. Animals like ferrets and dogs can still transmit the disease to other animals, but it seems that these animals are less likely to transmit the disease than cats.

Should I get My Pet Tested?

While cats and dogs can spread the disease, the World Organization for Animal Health states that there is no evidence that companion animals play a significant role in the spread of COVID-19. They have also said that there is no reason to take measures that can compromise the health or wellbeing of your pet.

Most pets are not at any real risk of becoming infected. The only threat is if they have contacted other people or animals who are COVID-19 positive. If this is the case, it would be best to contact your vet. You can work with your vet to figure out if testing is necessary. In most cases, a vet would recommend testing if the animal has come into contact with an infected person. Testing includes taking oral, nasal, and fecal samples.

Any pet that tests positive for COVID-19 should be isolated. These animals have the possibility of spreading the disease to any unexposed animals or humans.

How to Protect My Family and Me?

Because COVID-19 quickly spreads when in close contact with others, it is crucial to follow the CDC’s safety guidelines. So far, we know there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, but there are ways you can protect yourself from the disease. The best way to protect you and your family is to self-isolate if possible. If you come into contact with the disease, there is a possibility you can get it.

The CDC also offers these guidelines to help fight COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often for at least twenty seconds with soap and water.
  • If soap and water are not available, a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used.
  • Avoid close contact with others. You should be at least six feet away from others.
  • If you leave your home, be sure to wear a cloth face cover. You can spread COVID-19 to other people even if you do not feel sick, so it is important to protect others as well.
  • Always cover your coughs and sneezes and throw used tissues away immediately.
  • Be sure to clean and disinfect frequently used areas daily.

Using the guidelines given to us by our healthcare professionals, we can help slow the spread of COVID-19.