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Can My Pets Give Me Coronavirus?

You might have heard that there is a new strain of coronavirus and noticed the panic around its spread, especially as it relates to our pets. The team at SLVS24EC wants to offer clarity surrounding the coronavirus and our pets, particularly as it makes its way into our area.

Not too long ago, a dog in Hong Kong tested positive for the human strain of the coronavirus (COVID -19), here’s what we know about it, and what you should know about it:

Can My Pets Infect Me With Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

As far as we know right now, no. 

According to the AVMA, “At this time, the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) say there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, spread COVID-19.” 

It’s important to know that the dog in Hong Kong that tested positive for the virus is an outlier.

At first, it tested “weakly positive” for the virus, meaning that the positive test result could have been an outcome of “environmental contamination.”  However, the second test proved that it had a “low-level” infection, indicating that it does carry a low level of COVID-19 but that it continues to be asymptomatic.

So what does that mean? 

It means that further evaluation is needed before panic about the animals spreading the virus develops. Again, there is no reason to suspect that animals can spread the disease at this time, so please, don’t make decisions about your pets out of fear.

That being said, it has always been recommended to wash your hands after handling any animals that you come into contact with, but it’s more important now, especially if their owners show any flu-like symptoms.

Please, Please, Please, Stop Hoarding Medical Supplies 

If you’re not immunocompromised or included in the higher risk groups of viral complications (65 or older, children, pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses, etc.), stocking up on surgical masks, hand sanitizer, and other medical supplies are unnecessary and keeps them from those that need them. 

This includes your pet’s medical team, as suppliers will always divert stock away from veterinary medicine and send it to human medicine as these supplies become scarcer.

Ordering them for our own hospital has become increasingly difficult, and we need them to perform surgeries on your beloved furry family members.

So What Can You Do?

Stop touching your face, wash your hands with soap AND water for at least 20 seconds, and leave the masks for those who need them the most.

Besides, normal face masks are not very effective at hindering the entrance of airborne particles into your body, they mostly keep them from going out of the mask (which is why surgeons wear them in the operating room).

But don’t take my word for it, take it from Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, who tweeted Saturday:

[facemasks are] “NOT effective in preventing the general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!” 

So how Should I Stay Updated on the Most Recent News?

With all of the misinformation and downright fearmongering going on with this virus, it’s important to follow the scientists at our health protection agencies like the CDC, WHO, the AVMA, etc.

Here is a link to the AVMA article that we used to gather more information, they will most likely include new updates on the infected pet as they arise: http://bit.ly/2TPgOf8

But we will also try to keep the blog updated as new information comes out as well, so we’ll check back often.

Update from the AVMA 3/11/20: 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.

Sources:

https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/covid-19
https://www.americanhumane.org/blog/pets-are-blameless-in-spread-of-covid-19-coronavirus/
https://abcnews.go.com/Business/americans-hoarding-hand-sanitizer-face-masks-amid-coronavirus/story?id=69385946
https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2020/03/05/coronavirus-dogs-cats/