With the threat of the coronavirus pandemic becoming more prominent, many pet owners are concerned with what this all means for the pets and the risks they might face. In light of the Florida stay at home order issued by Governor DeSantis, we want you to be reassured Healthy Pets Veterinary Care is recognized as essential businesses and will be open to take care of your pet’s needs. The American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) has been in regular contact with CDC, FDA, and USDA; other state, national, and international veterinary and public health expert groups; and intergovernmental organizations (such as the WHO and OIE) to learn the latest developments and their potential impacts on veterinarians, patients, and clients.
Below are some key information statements that have been made by the AVMA to make sure veterinarians and clients are well educated and informed.
- While 2 dogs (Hong Kong) and 1 cat (Belgium) have been reported to have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets spread COVID-19 to other animals, including people.
- COVID-19 appears to be primarily transmitted by contact with an infected person’s bodily secretions, such as saliva or mucus droplets in a cough or sneeze. COVID-19 might be able to be transmitted by touching a contaminated surface or object (i.e., a fomite) and then touching the mouth, nose, or possibly eyes, but this appears to be a secondary route. Smooth (non-porous) surfaces (e.g., countertops, door knobs) transmit viruses better than porous materials (e.g., paper money, pet fur), because porous, and especially fibrous, materials absorb and trap the pathogen (virus), making it harder to contract through simple touch. Because your pet’s hair is porous and also fibrous it is very unlikely that you would contract COVID-19 by petting or playing with your pet. However, because animals can spread other diseases to people and people can also spread diseases to animals, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands before and after interacting with animals; ensure your pet is kept well-groomed; and regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys.
- If you are not ill with COVID-19, you can interact with your pet as you normally would, including walking, feeding, and playing. You should continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions (e.g., wash hands before and after interacting with your pet; ensure your pet is kept well-groomed; regularly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys).
- Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. Have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet. If you 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 them
The veterinarians at Healthy Pets Veterinary Care advise that you have an emergency kit prepared in the event you are in quarantine or self-isolated, this includes food and any medication(s) your pet may need. As always, we are available to answer any questions or
concerns you may have. Please refer to our previous blog with recommendations of what you can do with your pet while quarantined at home and how to take advantage of this extra time spent with your furry loved one!
More resources and a list of FAQs are available the AVMA website, https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/covid-19.