American Veterinary Medical Associations Current pet recommendations

We recognize the concern regarding recent news on some isolated pets testing positive for COVID-19. We want to provide you the most up to date information, from a trusted resource on what is known about COVID-19 and your pets. We appreciate your trust in us to provide you the information you need to make the best pet care decisions.

Be well!

SUMMARY AND CURRENT RECOMMENDATIONS

Despite the number of global cases of COVID-19 surpassing the 2.6 million mark as of April 22, 2020, we are aware of only three pets (two dogs and one cat) in Hong Kong, and a tiger and two pet cats in New York state, that have tested positive, with confirmation, for SARS-CoV-2. Of the pets confirmed to be positive, only two (the cats in New York state) exhibited signs of illness consistent with infection with SARS-CoV-2. Both of the ill cats showed mild signs of illness and are expected to fully recover. 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 recovering. At this point in time, there is also no evidence that domestic animals, including pets and livestock, can spread COVID-19 to people.

Therefore, the AVMA maintains its current recommendations regarding SARS-CoV-2 and animals. These recommendations, which are supported by guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), are that:

  • 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 and when handling animal food, waste, or supplies.
  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
  • Keep cats indoors, when possible, to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people and animals. Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.
  • 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 cloth face covering; don't share food, kiss, or hug them, and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.
  • At this point in time, there is no evidence to suggest that domestic animals, including pets and livestock, that may be incidentally infected by humans play a role in the spread of COVID-19.
  • Routine testing of animals for SARS-CoV-2 is NOT recommended. Veterinarians are strongly encouraged to rule out other, more common causes of illness in animals before considering testing for SARS-CoV-2 (see additional information under "Testing Animals for SARS-CoV-2").
  • Human outbreaks are driven by person-to-person transmission. Accordingly, we see no reason to remove pets from homes even if COVID-19 has been identified in members of the household, unless there is risk that the pet itself is not able to be cared for appropriately.

During this pandemic emergency, animals and people each need the support of the other and veterinarians are there to support the good health of both.

Sited from American Veterinary Medical Association (4/23/2020), www.avma.org

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