Hello there! I hope everyone is holding up well during these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of us are still processing that what we are going through is a reality and not a scary movie.
Part of this reality is that many people are now working from home or losing their jobs. I am sure most of our fur babies are not complaining about this, but it does bring new concerns to the table.
Can animals get or transmit COVID-19? Sadly, many people are abandoning their pets or giving them away to shelters due to concerns of further transmission of COVID-19. In this column, we will address how this horrible virus can potentially affect our pets and whether we need to be concerned about transmission by or to our pets.
Before we dive into the topic, please be aware that there is still much that we do not know about this novel coronavirus. While the information I will share here is the most up-to-date we have, please know that we are acquiring new knowledge every day during this ordeal. Make sure you utilize reliable sources when you gather information, including the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website.
Let us address the most important question first: Can COVID-19 be transmitted from humans to our pets or from our pets to humans?
In late February, there was a dog in Hong Kong that tested weak positive for COVID-19. But this was a very elderly dog that was at a home where the caretaker was positive for COVID-19. The dog did not show any symptoms related to COVID-19 and did not seem to be able to transmit it to other humans or pets.
Other than that case, there is no other evidence showing that our pets can get sick from our COVID-19 pandemic or likely transmit it to other humans or animals.
That being said, their fur can potentially act as a carrier of the virus (fomite), but the likelihood of this is low. The reason for that is because porous and fibrous surfaces (like pet fur) can trap the virus but do not easily spread it through just normal touch. Smooth surfaces are more likely to transmit the virus than porous/fibrous surfaces.
However, if you or a loved one tests positive for COVID-19, it is strongly recommended to have someone else take care of any fur babies at home as to avoid potential transmission of the virus or exposure of them to the virus.
As usual, basic hygiene is also recommended, meaning thoroughly washing your hands before and after petting a dog or cat. Also avoid touching your face as much as possible, which is recommended regardless of whether you have fur babies or not.
Please keep in mind that more and more veterinary hospitals and clinics are doing curbside services, where clients are not allowed to come into the facilities. While this is not ideal for most of us, it seems to be a trend, and it may get even more strict. But at least we are able to offer essential medical services to our fur babies.
As we continue to face the unpredictable and the unimaginable, make sure you are prepared by having the medications your baby may need refilled ahead of time and making sure they stay as healthy as possible.
Also keep in mind that many rescue groups and shelters need help and support during these times. I recently visited a local shelter to look into fostering a dog, and it was so sad to see so many animals in need! Please consider fostering a baby in need. We are in this together and we need to support each other.
The compassion we show to animals should also be extended to the people around us. Let us be nice to each other, even when we feel like the world is falling apart. We do not know what someone else may be going through. Let us help our animals and our neighbors during times of uncertainty and we will make it through!
There is only Plan A and that is to get back on our feet, with our loving fur babies, as soon as possible. Hang in there, everyone! Abrazos!
Story courtesy of the Dallas Voice.