1. Can my pet get COVID-19?
The overall risk that your pet dog or cat can become infected with SARS-CoV-2 and develop COVID-19 is thought to be very low.
There are other canine and feline coronaviruses that your pet can catch. These are not the same as the coronavirus that is causing the current outbreak of COVID-19.
There have been reports of animals from overseas, owned by people with COVID-19, testing positive to the presence of virus in the nose or mouth. These cases have not gone on to develop disease and may be cases of human to animal transmission. These infections have been very rare and there is no evidence demonstrating that pet dogs or cats are a source of infection to other animals or humans at this point in time.
Initial reports suggest ferrets are susceptible to infection and the virus can replicate within this species in experimental conditions and cause disease.
This situation is being monitored and updated information will be provided as it becomes available.
2. Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?
We appreciate that your pet is part of your family and you will want them to have the same level of protection and care as any other family member. Current information suggests there is no apparent risk to you or your pet from being in quarantine with you.
However, we do advise all pet owners continue to practice appropriate hand hygiene before and after handling their pet, their food and washing of food/water bowls. If possible, have another member of the household act as the primary carer of your pet.
We suggest minimising close contact with your pet during this time, such as hugging, face to face contact or sleeping on your bed.
3. I am sick with COVID-19 and in home isolation - could my pet transmit the coronavirus to other household members?
Although there is a potential risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 through contact with a contaminated hair coat, there is only a theoretical risk of transmission of the virus to a person through this route. It is considered unlikely (but not impossible) that a sufficient amount of virus would remain on the hair coat to transmit infection. However, it would be prudent to minimize close contact as outlined above. Practicing proper hygiene such as hand washing would further reduce risk. Potentially, there is a low risk that coronavirus could be transmitted via contaminated collars, leads and harnesses.
4. What should I do if I am in quarantine or self-isolation and my pet is unwell?
If you are in quarantine, do not break quarantine to take your pet to the veterinarian even if your pet is unwell. By doing this you will put your veterinarian and staff at risk of infection.
Ring the veterinary surgery first on 9983 9494 and ask for advice.
If your pet needs to be seen, we will work with you to ensure your pet will receive the care they need, whilst keeping our staff safe from COVID-19.
Teleconferencing can be arranged so that we can have a consultation with you without face to face (pet) contact. Teleconferencing has a number of limitations in assisting to provide medical care but may be feasible in some cases. We may be able to adequately treat your pet via teleconferencing or in more serious cases it may provide a starting point for further investigations.
We will be assisting clients in isolation by organising a drop off service for delivery of medicines to the home of clients.
St Ives Veterinary Hospital will not be able to provide house call services during the coronavirus pandemic.
Due to the risk to our staff, if your pet is seriously unwell and you are in quarantine with COVID-19, it may be necessary for your pet to be transported to a specialist centre for treatment.
5. I am sick with COVID-19, should I get my pet tested for Coronavirus?
The testing of animals is not recommended at this time, as the virus is primarily transmitted person-to-person and not through animal contact. Commercial test kits for animals are not available.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and advice provided here is reflective of the current evidence and situation at hand.
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