COVID-19 - My Pets And Me

Posted May 19, 2021
By now we are all aware of COVID-19 but what does this mean for our pets.

Coronavirus is in the news every day and while there are good sources of information to consult (see below) there is also some scaremongering going on.

Coronaviruses have been around for years and many types already exist in humans mostly causing mild cold-like signs. Animal corona viruses also exist. However, COVID-19 is a brand new type of coronavirus, never before identified.

The spread of COVID-19 is thought to be mainly person-to-person and seems to be easy within a community. People are contagious when they are showing symptoms and the sicker they are the more contagious they become. There is also evidence that respiratory droplets produced by infected and sick persons can contaminate surfaces.

There is no evidence to date that dogs, horses and farm animals become sick with COVID-19 and certainly no evidence that these animals can spread the disease to each other or humans. However, there is limited evidence that cats can become sick with COVID-19. Two cats in Belgium developed vomiting and diarrhoea and respiratory signs that were due to COVID-19, and five cats in China were experimentally infected with the virus. However, no researchers believe that cats represent a source of human infection. Head to the article from RSPCA Knowledge for further information: Can I contract COVID-19 from companion animals?

  • Wash your hands regularly and especially before and after touching animals, and before eating and drinking (if unable to wash, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer).
  • Try to refrain from touching your face.
  • Avoid close contact with other people – don’t shake hands or kiss in greeting.
  • Always sneeze or cough into a tissue and then discard the tissue into a bin.
  • If you or your companion animal show symptoms, quarantine in your house and seek advice from your doctor and veterinarian by telephone.
  • Keep your pet cats confined so they are unable to be in contact with an infectious person or cat.
  • Consider enrichment to keep your cats happy and healthy.
  • If you test positive to COVID-19, keep your distance from your pet cat because you might infect it, or arrange to have it boarded away from you.
  • If your pet is showing any symptoms (vomiting, diarrhoea, or respiratory signs) consult your local veterinarian for advice.
Some myths that need to be busted
  • Weather doesn’t appear to be a factor in the spread
  • Goods transported from China or any country reporting cases of COVID-19 will not be contaminated with the virus
  • Mosquitos or other insects do not carry the disease
  • There is currently no vaccine that will help protect you from COVID-19
  • Currently there is no medication or herbal remedy that will help protect you from contracting the virus

Dr Mandy Paterson
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