Covid-19 & Your Pets

 

In light of the recent story of a tiger who tested positive for Covid-19 at the Bronx Zoo, we wanted to take a moment to go over pertinent information where your pets and the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes Covid-19) are concerned. Obviously, with a novel virus, information will be changing frequently as we learn more about this particular virus. Some new studies indicate that the danger lies with human to animal transmission – we’ll be focusing on precisely what we have been focusing on, which is how to best protect your pet. Continuing to observe social distancing is key. Here’s what we know:

 

  • The virus survives best on smooth surfaces. If you have the virus and contaminate a smooth surface, the virus is much more likely to linger and infect others, including your pet. The virus does not survive as well on clothing or pet’s fur; it is more likely to be absorbed.  That’s not to say contamination is not possible, but it’s not as easily transmittable.
  • Cats and ferrets may be more susceptible than dogs or other animals to become infected with the virus (studies are continuing to be performed, we’ll share info as it is made available).
  • Human-to-pet infections are very rare. The cases that we are currently aware of show the infected pet as asymptomatic or presenting with mild symptoms.
  • The course of the disease appears shorter in animals: 2-6 days average.
  • Limit contact with your pets. The virus is transmitted by breathing (and talking), coughing or sneezing on or around your pet.  Do not allow your pet to access smooth surfaces that you may have touched.
  • If you have the virus, it is safer to have someone else care for your pet.
  • If your pet displays symptoms, veterinarians will continue to evaluate for common veterinary respiratory pathogens at this point. Testing for animals is still not recommended by the CDC or the AVMA.
  • If you are sheltering in place, so should your pet.