COVID-19 & PETS: What You Need to Know
There's a LOT of chatter right now about COVID-19 a novel strand of the coronavirus. Some of this information is true, some is exaggerated.
Ooltewah Veterinary Hospital is committed to the health and safety of our patients and clients. At this time, there are no confirmed cases in Hamilton or surrounding counties. We are watching the situation closely and will make adjustments in our operating procedures to limit transmission as needed.
Here's what you need to know about COVID-19 and how it could affect the non-human members of your family.
Can my pet get COVID-19? You may have read that a dog in Hong Kong, whose owner had a confirmed case, also tested positive for COVID-19. After continuous monitoring for several weeks, the animal has not shown any clinical symptoms. However, he is still testing a "weak positive" for the virus. The implications of a "weak positive" test result are unclear, and it's unknown if the presence of the virus is due to infection, environmental contamination, cross-reactivity, or even potential issues with the test itself.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), no animals in the United States have been identified with the virus and there is no evidence that dogs or other pets can contract or spread COVID-19.
Cats and dogs are known to carry other strains of the Coronavirus, none of which are transmissible to humans. There is no reason to get rid of your pet and no reason to run to a veterinary hospital asking to have him/her tested.
Is there a vaccine I can get for my pet?
At this time there is not a COVID-19 vaccine for humans or animals. There is a vaccination for dogs against a different species of coronavirus (canine coronavirus) but it does not protect against this virus species specifically.
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.
My pet needs to go to the veterinarian – what should I do?
If you are not ill with COVID-19 or another communicable disease (e.g., cold, flu), call us to make an appointment for your pet as you normally would. If you are sick with COVID-19 or another communicable disease, you should stay at home, minimizing contact with other people, until you are well.
If you are sick and your pet has an emergency medical situation, please seek assistance from a friend or family member that is not sick. If you do not have anyone able to assist, let us know. We can coordinate a drop-off or discuss telemedicine options!
Keep in mind that there are lots of illnesses that can cause coughing, sneezing, lethargy or other flu like symptoms in your pets. If they are showing any signs of illness, it is important to have them evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
How can I protect myself and my pet?
First and foremost, practice good hygiene and thorough hand-washing at all times, including after interaction with pets or other animals.
Other ideas to limit you and your pet's risk of transmitting COVID-19 include:
- Keep your pets away from anyone known or suspected to be infected with COVID-19 to help prevent possible spread.
- Avoid contact with wildlife, even those you consider pets.
- Avoid consumption of wildlife.
- Be sure to routinely clean and disinfect your pets' cages, toys and feeding areas.
- Keep your pets from having contact with any wildlife by leash walking them and not leaving them outside unsupervised.
- Be cautious about acquiring any exotic pets, specifically if they are imported from another country, until it's confirmed which species can transmit the virus.
We will continue to keep you all updated with new information or on any effect this may have on OVH operating as usual. Everyone, stay safe and WASH YOUR HANDS!