Our pets are our family, so in this time of uncertainty, their safety is as important as that of your human family members. The spread of COVID-19 has impacted many, but can it affect your pets?
While there are some diseases that can be passed between pets and people, the actual incidence of disease passing from people to pets is quite rare. Rabies, ringworm and some bacterial infections can be passed from animals to people. Conversely, mumps has been known to affect dogs, and giardia, bacteria usually spread through drinking water, can be passed to pets. In 2009, the H1N1 flu virus was found in cats and dogs, apparently passed from humans.
With respect to COVID-19, infectious disease experts and human and animal health organizations have found no evidence that pets can get sick from this virus or that they can pass it to humans or to other animals. Veterinarians, nonetheless, encourage pet owners to take precautions to protect our furry family members until we know more about this virus.
- If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, limit your contact with your pet. Removing him from the home is not necessary but have another family member take care of him. If another family member is not available to care for your pet, wear a mask when you interact with him, avoid kisses and hugs, and wash your hands before and after touching him.
- If you are not ill, interacting with your pet is acceptable, but taking common sense precautions is strongly recommended. Wash your hands before and after touching your pet and before handling his food or water. Be sure that food and water bowls, bedding and toys are cleaned regularly.
- Watch your pet for signs of illness or discomfort. Pets that became ill with H1N1 flu exhibited similar symptoms as humans who had contracted the virus. If your pet seems ill, contact your veterinarian.
Rest assured your pet is probably safer in your home than interacting with other animals, as same-species transmission of disease is far more prevalent than between humans and pets. However, during this time of learning more about COVID-19, using additional safety measures is wise. If you have questions about how to keep your pet safe from disease, contact the veterinarians at Lake Cable Animal Hospital.