Given the latest news, you may be wondering if coronavirus (Covid-19), which has infected thousands of people worldwide, is a threat to your pets. Bottom line, at this time, unless you have coronavirus or your pet has been exposed to people with coronavirus no precautions are needed or recommended.
So far no pets have definitively been infected with coronavirus. In recent news a dog that belonged to a coronavirus patient tested “weakly positive” on swabs of the nose and mouth for coronavirus. The dog was showing no signs of illness and currently the implications of the weak positive are unclear. It may represent true asymptomatic infection or be due to contamination from the environment or from the human patient. As we know its hard to resist kissing your dog even when your sick and dogs are known for having their nose and mouth come into contact with just about everything.
At this time the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have not made specific recommendations for pets. In Hong Kong, pets exposed to coronavirus are being quarantined for 14 days out of an abundance of caution. Ultimately unless your pet has been exposed to coronavirus no precautions are needed at this time. If you are sick with coronavirus, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) recommends wearing a face mask around your pet and washing your hands frequently. You should also keep them inside and away from other people and pets to avoid any chance of spreading the virus.
In terms of preparing for the possible spread of coronavirus, just as experts have recommended for people, we recommend making sure you have a supply of pet food and any medications your pets regularly needs on hand. If your pet has had exposure to coronavirus and they are showing signs of illness contact your veterinarian.
Author: Dr. Tom Taney