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-
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].