Covid-19 and Pets – No Need to Panic, But Take Precautions

March 12th 2020

We recognize it’s been a tough time recently. The global spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) has reached Calgary, and it has a lot of people anxious about their health and the health of others. Some people are also wondering if they should be concerned about their pet’s health.

Can Pets Get Covid-19 From Humans? 

“Dogs and cats do get coronaviruses -- but they are usually not the same viruses associated with this outbreak, said Jane Gray, Hong Kong SPCA's chief veterinary surgeon. The strains dogs and cats typically get don't cause respiratory problems.”
 
There is little to know information out there now about human to animal transmission, there has been one reported case of a dog in Hong Kong found to have a low-level infection of Covid-19 who’s owner was infected.


Can Pets Pass Covid-19 to humans?

 There is currently no evidence of dog or cat to human transmission of Covid-19.
 

How Can Humans Protect Themselves From Covid-19 

There is no reason to panic and the risk of getting Covid-19 is still low in Alberta. Alberta Health Services has published a list of symptoms that do require further follow up.
 
Symptoms include:
• Fever
• Shortness of Breath
• Cough
 
This should be combined with travel 14 days prior to their illness or close contact with someone who has a probable case of Covid-19. If you have these symptoms you are asked to call 811 and DO NOT visit a hospital, emergency room, or your family doctor.
 

How Pet Owners Infected With Covid-19 Can Protect Their Pets 

So, although there is little evidence of human to animal transmission, there are some things you can do to protect your pet.
 
1) Don’t kiss your pet or allow them to kiss you
2) Clean their paws off well when they come in from outside.
3) Clean your own hands well, to avoid passing on the virus to others or your pet.
4) If you are ill, wear a mask and don’t have close face-to-face contact with your pet.
5) If you have been diagnosed with Covid-19, ideally have someone else care for your pets. If this is not possible, wear a mask and minimize contact with your pet(s).
6) If you have Covid-19 and are in isolation, isolate your pet with you, limit their contact with other people and animals.
 
If your pet is on medications, you may also want to have a few extra weeks of those medications on hand, as well as their food and other supplies in the advent that any self-quarantine measures are put in place in your household.
 

Can My Pet Get Veterinary Care If I Have Covid-19?

The U.S. Centre for Disease Control (CDC) is advising people to call their veterinary clinic ahead of time and let them know they may have Covid-19 or have been diagnosed. It is up to the veterinary clinic how they will handle a clinic or mobile visit with a pet owner with a presumed or confirmed case of Covid-19.
 

What We Are Doing To Keep Our Clinic Safe

For our patients, your health is why we come to work everyday. To protect you from germs and viruses, our practice is to use medical grade sanitizing agents between every appointment to wipe down all surfaces in exam rooms and the overall clinic is cleaned several times a day. 

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