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COVID-19: Coronavirus & Pets

The team at Central Veterinary Clinic is dedicated to ensuring your pets are kept healthy and are well looked after during this Covid-19 pandemic. We have protocols in place should there be a national shutdown but your pet needs emergency care. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for any emergency.

In addition to our strict sanitary protocols that we follow on a daily basis, we have implemented additional measures to protect not only our staff but also our clients and pets.

Over the last week, we have had many questions regarding pets and Covid-19 and so we wanted address these to keep you all informed. If there are any concerns or additional questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

The team at Central Veterinary Clinic

‘where your pet becomes family’

What are coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some coronaviruses cause cold-like illnesses in people, while others cause illness in certain types of animals, such as cattle, camels, and bats. Some coronaviruses, such as canine and feline coronaviruses, only infect animals and do not infect humans.

What is the best way to protect myself and my family (human and pet) from the COVID-19 coronavirus?

Practical measures to protect yourself and your family from this or any other contagious respiratory illness include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Watch a video about the WHO's recommended handwashing technique.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Stay home when you are sick or have a fever.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

  • Maintain more personal space between you and other people than you might usually.

  • Vaccinate your pets as recommended by your veterinarian.

  • If you become ill with the COVID-19 coronavirus, please wear a well-fitted mask to help prevent the spread of the virus and limit contacts with other humans and your pets as recommended by your physician.

  • If you are ill and your pet needs veterinary care, please call your veterinarian or emergency clinic first. They may be able to accommodate your situation by coming out to your car to transport your pet into the clinic for an examination and communicate with you via phone regarding the diagnosis and treatment plan. They may also have other options for you, such as telemedicine, so that your pet can receive needed care during this time.

  • If you know older/elderly people, you may want to check in with them to make sure they have necessary food, medications and supplies, including for their pets.

Can COVID-19 infect pets?

We do not have a clear answer to this at this time. Currently, there is no evidence that pets can become sick. Infectious disease experts, as well as the CDC, OIE, and WHO indicate there is no evidence to suggest that pet dogs or cats can be a source of infection with SARS-CoV-2, including spreading COVID-19 to people. More investigation is underway and as we learn more, we will update you. However, because animals can spread other diseases to people and people can also spread diseases to animals, it’s a good idea to always wash your hands before and after interacting with animals.

If experts believe it is unlikely for a dog to get COVID-19, how did a dog test “positive” in Hong Kong?

This canine patient was in close contact with an infected human, who was likely shedding large quantities of the virus. This led to the virus being in the dog’s nose. There is no indication that the dog is sick or showing any symptoms. Authorities say they will continue to quarantine and test the dog to evaluate if the canine patient becomes ill. In short, there was coronavirus on the dog just like there was coronavirus on the floor in the room but the dog was not infected or diseased.

Although pets cannot become sick from COVID-19, could they serve as a conduit of infection between people?

Yes. It is possible that a person with COVID-19 could sneeze or otherwise contaminate their pet, and then another individual could touch that animal and contract the disease. Veterinary experts believe the risk for transmission would be low. However, animals living with sick individuals should be kept away from other people and animals (quarantined at home), just as people who live with sick individuals must avoid contact with others.

Is there a COVID-19 vaccine for dogs and cats?

There is no vaccine for COVID-19 for people or animals at this time.

Veterinarians are familiar with other coronaviruses. Similar but different coronavirus species cause several common diseases in domestic animals. Many dogs, for example, are vaccinated for another species of coronavirus (Canine Coronavirus) as puppies. However, this vaccine does not cross protect for COVID-19.

Should my pet wear a face mask in public?

No. Face masks may not protect your pet from disease transmission and may cause other breathing difficulties.

If I am ill with COVID-19 are there special precautions I should take to prevent spreading disease, including when caring for my pet?

If you are sick with COVID-19 you need to be careful to avoid transmitting it to other people. Applying some common-sense measures can help prevent that from happening.

  • Stay at home except to get medical care and call ahead before visiting your doctor.

  • Minimize your contact with other people, including separating yourself from other members of your household who are not ill; using a different bathroom, if available; and wearing a facemask when you are around other people or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.

  • Wash your hands often, especially before touching your face, and use hand sanitizer.

  • Use a tissue if you need to cough or sneeze and dispose of that tissue in the trash. When coughing or sneezing, do so into your elbow or sleeve rather than directly at another person.

  • 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.

  • If you are ill with COVID-19, have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet.

  • If you are sick and have a service animal or you must care for your pet, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with your pet or service animal. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.

While we are recommending these as good practices, it is important to remember there is currently no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19 to other animals, including people.

What should I do to prepare for my pet’s care in the event I do become ill?

  • Identify another person in your household who is willing and able to care for your pet in your home should you contract COVID-19.

  • Make sure you have an emergency kit prepared, with at least two weeks’ worth of your pet’s food and any needed medications.

  • Contact us with your pets medication needs that we can expedite the process for collection.

  • Don’t forget that you can request your pets subscriptions through our app in the Google play and Apple app store.

My pet or service animal needs to go to the veterinarian – what should I do?

  • If you are sick with COVID-19 or another communicable disease, you should not bring your pet to the clinic but have another person in your household or friend that is not sick bring your pet.

  • Alternatively, you can contact Pet Transportation at 243-0420 and they will organize to collect your pet to be seen at the clinic

  • If you are sick with COVID-19 or another communicable disease but it is an emergency and you must bring your pet to the clinic, please follow these steps

  • Call us in advance to let us know you are bringing your pet but that you are sick

  • DO NOT leave your vehicle to bring your pet inside when you arrive

  • Call us once you arrive and one of our team members will come for your pet using one of our leashes

  • Wear a mask to reduce the risk of infecting anyone else

  • Once your pet is ready to go home, we will contact you.

  • If you are sick with COVID-19 or another communicable disease, you will NOT be able to collect your pet yourself. You can either have a friend or family member that is not sick collect your pet or you can contact Pet Transportation at 243-0420.

  • Payments can be made via telephone with a cc. We are working on finalizing a payment option through our app.

References:

https://www.avma.org/sites/default/files/2020-03/covid-19-faq-pet-owners.pdf

https://www.oregonvma.org/care-health/zoonotic-diseases/coronavirus-faq

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/animals.html

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