posted: by: Dawn, RVT Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

We are aware of continual developments regarding COVID-19 and the question of transmission to/from pets.  According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there is no evidence that domestic animals, including pets and livestock, can spread COVID-19 to people.  There have also been no reports of pets or livestock becoming ill with the virus in the US.

Below are some statements made by the AVMA regarding animals:

  •  Despite the number of global cases of COVID-19 surpassing the one million mark as of April 2, 2020, we have only seen examples of two dogs and one cat in Hong Kong, and a tiger in New York, that had positive results of tests for infection.
  • None of the dogs or cats determined to be positive showed signs of illness consistent with COVID-19. The two dogs and one cat lived closely with one or more people with a confirmed diagnosis and clinical symptoms of COVID-19.
  • No conclusions can responsibly be drawn regarding the cat in Belgium because of questions surrounding collection and analysis of samples for testing for SARS-CoV-2 and the absence of an evaluation of that cat for other, more common causes for its clinical signs. 
  • The tiger was said to be exposed via contact with a zoo employee who was actively shedding virus, and some other large cats at the zoo that were apparently housed in proximity did exhibit signs of respiratory disease, but are expected to recover. 

The AVMA recommends the following regarding pets and the virus (these recommendations are also supported by the CDC):

     -    Animal owners without symptoms of COVID-19 should continue to practice good hygiene during interactions with animals. This includes washing hands before and after such interactions or handling animal food, waste, or supplies.

     -   Out of an abundance of caution, and until more is known about the virus, those ill with COVID-19 should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just as you would restrict your contact with other people. Have another member of your household or business take care of feeding and otherwise caring for any animals, including pets.  If you have a service animal or you must care for your animals, including pets, then wear a facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them, and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.

Testing companion animals

-   With the exception of the single report of illness in a cat in Belgium, which could not be confirmed, there have not been additional reports of pets or other domestic animals becoming ill subsequent to natural exposure to SARS-CoV-2, and there is no reason to think that domestic animals, including pets, in the United States might be a source of infection with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

-   To date, the CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States.

-   Routine testing of domestic animals for COVID-19 is not being recommended by the AVMA, CDC, USDA, or the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD).

-   Because the situation is ever-evolving, public and animal health officials may decide to test certain animals out of an abundance of caution. In the United States, the decision to test will made collaboratively between local, state, and federal animal and public health officials. 

From IDEXX Laboratories on 3/13/2020 (note: Idexx is a global leader in laboratory testing and who we currently use for our laboratory tests)

  • The company has seen no positive results in pets to date of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus strain responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) respiratory outbreak in humans.
  • IDEXX evaluated thousands of canine and feline specimens during validation of a new veterinary test system for the COVID-19 virus. The specimens used for test development and validation were obtained from specimens submitted to IDEXX Reference Laboratories for PCR testing.
  • These new test results align with the current expert understanding that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted person-to-person and supports the recommendation against testing pets for the COVID-19 virus.
  • For dogs or cats presenting with respiratory signs, the recommendation is to contact a veterinarian to test for more common respiratory pathogens.

Please remember that we are continuing to practice curbside service.  We ask that you remain in your car and call upon arrival and a staff member will assist you.  We have seen an increase in call volumes and wait times, even with normal tasks, so please be patient while we do our best to continue serving you (and our staff get their steps in!).

All information taken from the American Veterinary Medical Association and Idexx Laboratories websites.