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Basic Coronavirus Information for Veterinary Staff and Pet Owners

Our Kennett Square Veterinarians take a closer look at coronavirus, or COVID-19, in relation to pets and pet owners.LAST UPDATED: March 16th, 2020

Coronavirus: What we know as it relates to pets

The following information has been directly reported from the American Veterinary Medical Association in response to a recent development of a COVID-19 positive dog in Hong Kong. The corona virus is currently considered a human disease and we encourage you to ask your physician if you have questions.

“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.”

At this time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) say there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19. However, as with any disease, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals.

“While there has been one instance of a dog being infected in Hong Kong, to date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.” – World Health Organization 

WHO continues to monitor the latest research on this and other COVID-19 topics and will update as new findings are available.

According to the CDC, people who are sick with COVID-19 should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would restrict your contact with other people. When possible, a member of the household other than the individual who is ill should care for any animals in the household. Those infected with COVID-19 should avoid contact with animals, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. Those who must care for a pet, or who will be around animals while sick, should wear an appropriate face mask and wash hands thoroughly before and after interacting with those animals.

The CDC, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, claims that no animals in the United States have been identified with the virus, and furthermore, there is no evidence to support that dogs or other pets can contract or spread COVID-19.

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