Pet care during the COVID-19 epidemic. The veterinary community continues to research the new pandemic of coronavirus, but most of information they claim is optimistic for pet owners.
Veterinarians claim that COVID-19, a respiratory illness, originated in exotic pet food markets in Wuhan, China, but dogs and cats themselves cannot distribute it.
Dr. Daniel Smith of West Village Veterinary Hospital, said that pet parents should continue to communicate normally and “keep communication between your pet and strangers to a minimum”.
His words are consistent with the recommendations of the American Veterinary Medical Association, which recommends: “If you do not have COVID-19, you can talk to your pet as usual.”
The World Health Organization claims that “there is no evidence that dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus.” At the same time, on Monday, a dog died in Hong Kong from the coronavirus, which worries many parents of cats and dogs.
Here are the data we know about how coronavirus interacts with cats and dogs:
- There is no evidence that animals or animal products brought from other countries themselves can spread coronavirus to the United States, this is written in the new brochure of the New York State Veterinary Society, COVID-19. “There is no evidence that pets can spread the coronavirus.”
- Be careful that your pet does not become infected with the virus.
- People with COVID-19 should “limit contact with any animals as if you were with other people,” is written in the same VMS brochure. A healthy family member should look after a cat or dog, and if this is not possible, then the sick person should wear a mask and wash their hands thoroughly before and after feeding, walking or talking with a pet.
- The Centers for Disease Control recommend the use of hand antiseptics with an alcohol content of at least 60%.
- The agency claims that 20 seconds of washing with “soap and water” is more effective than using hand sanitizers.
- Two dogs tested positive for a coronavirus test.
- Both dogs had no symptoms, after quarantine for two weeks, they had a negative result, and then died.
- J. Scott Wease at the Washington Post, a professor at the University of Ontario’s College of Veterinary in Ontario, said the test results confirm that this is a real infection. This infection is of poor quality because the dogs are bad hosts for this virus.
- Despite this, health officials in Hong Kong report that the dog is not infected with the virus, but has a positive test result due to “environmental pollution”.
- Smith from New York emphasizes that there is currently no evidence that animal-to-human transmission exists.
Animals can be “fomites” for COVID-19
In the absence of convincing evidence of the possibility of virus transmission by animals, they can still be its victims.
“Fomit is a surface that can transmit disease,” Smith said.
A door handle, a large bag, a phone screen, and even your guinea pig may contain viruses. The China Center for Disease Control and Prevention has found that those infected with the COVID-19 virus have a live virus in their stool that can spread through the feces, as well as during sneezing and coughing.
“So, if someone with a coronavirus coughs by covering their face with their hands and then stroking their dog, there is a chance of transmission,” Smith said. “But I think it’s a very low probability … we don’t know enough.”
German researchers report that coronavirus can actually live on metal, plastic and glass surfaces for up to nine days. Research data from 22 studies of sick people published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, including Severe SARS, MERS, and HCoV.
With the help of disinfection, it is possible to reduce the surface viral load, the authors of the study write, especially those surfaces with which patients interact directly.
Wash your hands often when you touch the devices and your dogs and cats.
What to do if I worry about my pet
Smith emphasizes that pet owners can contact veterinarians, but must be patient: this virus is new to everyone, and control protocols are changing and evolving daily.
“Much is not yet entirely known. Currently, the veterinary community is still trying to figure out how to interact with the situation in order to give the veterinarian the benefit of doubt, ”he says.
Emergency kit assembly
ASPCA gives priority to the health of animals and their owners, and closely monitors world events related to COVID-19, said Dr. Stephanie Yanechko, vice president of ASPCA Shelter Medicine Services. To protect pets you need to train their owners well. The necessary precautions must be taken and pets included in their preparedness plans. ”
ASPCA recommends using “emergency kits,” which include delivering medicine for your pet for 30 days, as well as food and other supplies for at least two weeks. Be sure that your dogs and cats wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification information. Write on the tag the name of the pet, your phone number and urgent medical needs. Provide your name and contact information on it.
Appoint an ambulance
ASPCA recommends choosing in advance the most suitable family member, friend or boarding company who can help with caring for the pet in case you become ill. Gather all the information in the “dossier” in case you need to contact an ambulance. List all your habits, food preferences, medical drugs and conditions, your veterinarian’s contact information, medical records and vaccination data, and the behavioral characteristics of your dog or cat.