Coronavirus And Your Pet

March 06, 2021 | 9:18 PM

Coronavirus precautions extend to every member of a family. We wear masks, keep a social distance, and wash our hands many times a day to protect the ones we love. But what about animal family members? Can pets transmit the disease to humans? Can humans transmit Coronavirus to pets? What can we do to prevent Coronavirus within our households and how can we prepare for a pet emergency? Read on for the answers to your questions on Coronavirus and your pet.

Can My Pet Get Me Sick?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that some animals are susceptible to Coronavirus. A small number of pet cats, dogs, ferrets, and zoo animals have tested positive for Covid-19, the disease caused by a coronavirus named SARS-COV-2. However, when it comes to animals spreading the virus to humans, world and U.S. health organizations agree, the risk is very low.

According to the CDC, “Although several animal species have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, these infections are not the driver of the current COVID-19 pandemic, which is human-to-human transmission.” In virtually all cases of pets reported having tested positive for the virus, a human in the household was the original carrier of the virus. For example, a human was ill with the virus, and later a pet dog developed respiratory symptoms and tested positive as well.

Can pets make their human caretakers sick? According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “There is little to no evidence that domestic animals are easily infected with SARS-CoV-2 under natural conditions and no evidence to date that they transmit the virus to people.”

The greatest risk for humans is other humans. Human-to-human contact, especially respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing, carries a high risk of infection. 

Can I Get My Pet Sick?

To review, humans can infect pets such as cats and dogs with Coronavirus, but pets cannot infect humans (based on the data currently available). The question then is how likely is infection for pets? Can I get my pets sick by being around them if I have Coronavirus? According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, as of April 2020 “There have been fewer than 25 reports from around the world of pets (dogs and cats) being infected with SARS-CoV-2.” This report came at a time when 7 million people had been reported infected with Coronavirus.

Clearly, the risk of human to pet infection is low. However, some basic precautions can help ensure the entire household remains safe and protected. Limiting your pet’s exposure to strangers can help reduce the risk of your pet contracting Coronavirus. Avoid dog parks and other areas crowded with humans for the time being.

Watch out for signs of respiratory distress in your pet. Coughing, wheezing, excessive drooling, and lethargic behavior can signal that your pet may be ill. If you suspect your pet has become sick, you may want to avoid a crowded veterinarian’s office. Instead, you can easily arrange for a mobile vet in Philadelphia to visit your pet at home. This will limit your pet’s exposure to further risk factors. 

Can My Pets Get Each Other Sick?

While human to pet transmission is a low risk, pet to pet transmission presents a slightly higher risk. Just as the disease is spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing, some infected animals can spread SARS-CoV-2 to other animals in their species. The risk is slightly higher for transmission between cats than between dogs or between different species. 

If your pet is diagnosed positive for Coronavirus, your veterinarian may recommend quarantine until the animal recovers. This is a preventative measure to make sure other pets in the household do not become ill. 

What Should I Do if Someone in the House is Sick with Coronavirus?

Treat your pets like any other family member. If someone in the household becomes sick with Coronavirus, separate the sick family member from others, including pets. Practice appropriate cleaning, care, and social distancing. Seek medical advice for the sick family member.

Likewise, if your pet becomes sick, separate them from the rest of the family, watch their symptoms, and contact your veterinarian for medical advice for the sick pet.

It is almost always best for the pet to stay at home while sick. You can avoid the stress of travel and the risk of exposure by arranging for a mobile vet in Philadelphia to come to your pet’s assistance.

My Emergency Pet Plan

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is better to prepare for an emergency than to be caught unaware. Education is the first step to preparation. Stay up to date on the latest developments with Coronavirus and pets. 

Additionally, the Humane Society of the United States recommends the following steps to prepare in case of emergency.

Designate an emergency caretaker. If you become too ill to care for your pets, make sure a family member or friend is ready to take over. 

Keep food, bedding, and travel supplies for your pet in case you need to relocate or quarantine the animal in an emergency.

Keep all animal vaccines up to date. Keep copies of shot records on hand in case boarding or emergency care are necessary.

Keep up-to-date records of your pet’s medications and dosages. Include a copy of the prescription from your veterinarian with the medications.

Makes sure your pets have identification. Identification includes a collar, ID tag, and a microchip with current, up-to-date contact information.

Of course, not every family can prepare for every emergency situation. Make sure to make arrangements with your mobile vet in Philadelphia so that they can come to help you where you are. When you are too sick to move, or your pet is sick and you don’t want to risk transporting them, a mobile vet can be your best option for pet care during the Coronavirus pandemic.