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©2018 BY MAINE VETERINARY MEDICAL CENTER

Can COVID-19 infect pets? 

Currently there is limited evidence that companion animals can be infected with SARS-Cov-2 and no evidence that pet dogs or cats can

be a source of infection to other animals or to humans. This is a

rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.

Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-

19?

 

The CDC recommends the following: “You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with  COVID-19  limit  contact  with  animals  until  more  information  is  known  about  the  virus.

When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.” Please check for new updates on CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019 for further recommendations.

 

If my pet has been in contact with someone who is sick from COVID-

19, can it spread the disease to other people?

While we do not yet know for sure, there is limited evidence that companion animals can be infected with or spread SARS-Cov-2.

Additionally, there is currently no evidence that companion animals could be a source of infection to people.

 

What  should  I  do  if  my  pet  develops  an  unexplained  illness  and  was  around  a  person  with documented COVID-19 infection?

If your pet develops an unexplained illness and has been exposed to a person with COVID-19, talk to the public  health  official  working  with  the  person with COVID-19.  If  your  area  has  a  public  health veterinarian,  the  public  health  official  will  consult  with  them  or  another appropriate  official.  If  the state  public  health  veterinarian,  or  other  public  health  official,  advises  you  to  take  your  pet  to  a

veterinary clinic, call your veterinary clinic before you go to let them know that you are bringing a sick pet that has been exposed to a person with

COVID-19. This will allow the clinic time to prepare an isolation  area.  Do  not  take  the  animal to  a veterinary  clinic  unless  you  are  instructed  to  do  so  by  a public health official.

 

What are the concerns regarding pets that have been in contact with people infected with this virus?

While COVID-19 seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now  spreading from person-to-person. Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people. Although  there  is  no  evidence  that  pets  play  a  role  in  the  epidemiology  of  COVID

-19, strict hand hygiene should be maintained  by  the  entire clinical

team throughout  the  veterinary  interaction, especially if dealing with an animal that has been in contact with an infected person.

 

What should be done with pets in areas where the virus is active?

Currently  there  is limited evidence  that  pets can  be  infected  with  this  new  coronavirus. Although there  have  not  been  reports  of  pets or other animals  becoming  sick  with  COVID-19,  until we know more, pet owners should avoid contact with animals they are unfamiliar with and always wash

their hands before and after

they with animals.

If owners are sick with COVID-19, they should avoid contact  with  animals  in their household,  including  petting,  snuggling,  being  kissed  or  licked,  and sharing food. If they need to care for theirpet or be around animals while they are sick, they should wash their hands before and after

they interact with them and wear a facemask.

 

Should veterinarians start to vaccinate dogs against canine coronavirus because of the risk of SARS-Cov-2?

 

The  canine  coronavirus  vaccines  available  in  some  global  markets  are  intended  to  protect  against enteric  coronavirus  infection  and  are  NOT  licensed  for  protection against  respiratory  infections. Veterinarians  should  NOT use  such  vaccines  in the  face  of  the  current outbreak  thinking  that  there may  be  some  form  of  cross-protection  against  COVID-19.  There  is absolutely  no  evidence that vaccinating  dogs  with  commercially available  vaccines  will  provide  cross-protection  against  the infection  by  COVID-19,  since the  enteric  and  respiratory  viruses  are  distinctly  different  variants  of

coronavirus.  No vaccines are currently available in any market for respiratory coronavirus infection in the dog.

 

[Information from the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group].