Information about COVID-19 is everywhere you turn. From friends, to the internet, to the news, the global pandemic is on everyone’s mind. As a pet owner, we know that you want to make the best decisions for your pet, and you need solid, factual information. Check out our do’s and don’ts list, which will help you through this challenging time with your four-legged family member.
Do stay up to date on current information about COVID-19 and pets
Since COVID-19 is a new coronavirus strain, we are learning as we go, and new facts surface daily. Ensure you are staying up to date with the latest information by referring to reputable sources, such as:
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
- World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)
Don’t rely on social media, or unreliable sources, for your information
Although friends and family have good intentions, misinformation spreads like wildfire. Stick to the sources above, the news, and our veterinary team for the most accurate information about how to protect your family members—two- and four-legged—from the COVID-19 pandemic. We have heard horror stories about owners abandoning their pets over incorrect information about pets spreading the virus to humans. Don’t make rash decisions about your pet, without first speaking with us to get the facts.
Do monitor you pet for illness signs
As always, watch for any illness signs in your pet, including coughing, sneezing, vomiting, and diarrhea. Since you are spending more time at home, this is a good time to monitor for any abnormal behaviors, or changes in routine, that could indicate something is off.
Don’t panic if your pet develops respiratory disease signs
If you do notice respiratory signs, such as coughing, your pet likely does not have COVID-19. Dogs and cats can be affected by many respiratory pathogens, including Bordetella bronchiseptica, herpes virus, and Chlamydophila felis, and one of these infections is much more likely. CDC, WHO, and AVMA health officials agree that pets do not seem to become infected with COVID-19. Two dogs in China, who both lived with an infected owner, did test weakly positive for COVID-19, but did not become ill from the virus, and subsequently tested negative. Additionally, the veterinary laboratory IDEXX has tested thousands of dogs and cats for the virus in validation studies for a new COVID-19 test they have developed, with no positive results. This test remains ready if health officials determine that pets are a source of COVID-19 infection, but this seems unlikely.
Do arrange for alternate care for your pet in case you become sick
Have a back-up caregiver in mind for your pet, in case you become ill, and cannot care for her. Although coronaviruses can be passed via fomites (i.e., objects contaminated with the virus), the virus is more likely to stay alive on hard surfaces, such as door knobs and countertops, than your pet’s porous fur. If you are sick, out of an abundance of caution, avoid cuddling, sharing food, or sleeping with your pet, to prevent her from carrying the virus on her fur to healthy family members.
Do prepare a 30-day supply of pet-care essentials
As you prepare a supply of essentials for your family for the next several weeks to months, don’t forget your pet. Stock up on pet food, treats, toys, and litter, so you don’t run out in the midst of a lockdown or family illness.
Don’t forget your pet’s medications
As you accumulate pet-care supplies, don’t forget any medications your pet will need during the next several months. Call our office if you need refills on heartworm, flea, or tick preventives, or medication for your pet’s chronic condition.
Do continue your pet’s normal veterinary care
We plan to be here throughout the pandemic to continue providing important medical care for your pet. If your pet has an appointment, you can come as planned. If your pet becomes sick during the next few months, call our office to make an appointment, so her condition does not worsen.
Don’t come into our hospital if you are sick, at increased risk, or uncomfortable
Although we will remain open, we are taking special precautions to protect our clients. If you do not wish to enter our hospital, simply call us or honk when you arrive, and a team member will come out to get your pet. In the near future, we will also be offering pick-up and drop-off services for clients unable to drive their pet to our hospital for care. Give us a call to arrange this service for your pet.
Do share your veterinary concerns via text, phone, or video
We can perform virtual exams to diagnose and prescribe treatment for minor illnesses, recheck on-going conditions, and evaluate surgical recovery if your pet has been seen in the office in the last 12 months. For patients that are new to the practice, we can still provide advice and triage the situation to determine if an in-office exam is needed. These virtual exams can be performed on the Medici app in the comfort and safety of your home via text, video, or phone call.
Don’t hesitate to let us know how we can help you through this difficult time
Our clients are like family to us, and we want to help you in any way we can. If you are at high risk of infection and are unable to leave your home, please let us know how we can help you. From delivering groceries to picking up your pet, we want to ensure you and your pet have everything you need to make it through this uncertain time.
Still have questions about COVID-19 and your pet? Call us for the most accurate answers.