Our understanding of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is still very much developing and evolving. While more research is needed, reports indicate that a small number of pets have contracted the virus from a human in their home or neighborhood. In these rare cases, the pets show no or only minor symptoms of illness and are expected to make full recoveries. To date, there is no evidence that any animals, including pets and livestock, can spread COVID-19 to people.
How Can I Keep My Pet Safe?
Pet owners who do not have symptoms associated with COVID-19 should still continue to practice good hygiene. This includes washing hands before and after interactions with your pet and when handling animal food, waste, or supplies. It is also important not to let your pets interact with people or other animals outside the household; keep cats indoors when possible and walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least six feet from other people and animals. Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.
Is Telemedicine Available for Pets?
By necessity, many of our conversations with pet owners are currently taking place over the phone or via videoconferencing—however, in most cases we still need to observe the animal on site in order to provide treatment. This approach is somewhat different from telemedicine options that exist for humans, in which doctors can provide a full consultation remotely using the internet. As often as possible, we are reviewing medical records and test results remotely to help determine whether or not an issue warrants an in-person visit.
What Happens If My Pet Has an Emergency During the Pandemic?
Until we see an animal in person, it is very difficult to determine whether a true emergency has occurred. As such, we are continuing to see appointments for services and will not refuse any animal care. However, if you or a family member is ill, we do have additional precautionary steps in place to help protect our staff as well as you and your pets. Minimally, individuals who feel ill should wait 72 hours before bringing their pet in for treatment. If this is not possible in an emergency situation, ask a family member who does not live in the same household or a neighbor to do it for you.