Two cats who live in NYS have tested positive for COVID-19, but they have so far only shown mild respiratory signs, have not needed hospitalization, and there is no evidence that cats will pass the virus to people. A family dog (Winston) in North Carolina tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing mild symptoms and refusing breakfast. The pug’s human family had tested positive for the virus before Winston became sick. The other dog and cat in the home are negative, and Winston has only experienced mild symptoms so far.
What you need to know:
- There is still no evidence that dogs and cats can spread COVID-19 to people.
- Cats, dogs, or ferrets may become infected, but so far have shown mild respiratory signs and are recovering well at home.
- Cats may pass the virus to other cats by their respiratory secretions. It is unclear at this time if dogs will be able to pass the virus to other dogs.
- Livestock, including pigs, chickens, and ducks, do not appear to be significantly affected by the virus.
- Testing of pets uses a different process than testing for people, however, widespread testing of pets is not recommended by the USDA.
- Your veterinarian may recommend testing your pet only if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is showing respiratory symptoms.
- The virus does not appear to cause as serious of an infection in cats as it does in humans.
How to protect your pets:
- Wash your hands before and after feeding and handling your pets, especially cats.
- Avoid busy dog parks and maintain at least 6 feet of social distance between other pet owners and their animals. Keep cats indoors if possible.
- If you are sick with COVID-19, treat your pets as you would other people and take stricter precautions by isolating from your pets. It would be best to have someone else care for your pets until you are recovered.
- If you are sick with COVID-19 and do not have a surrogate to care for your pets, wear a mask when near your pets, wash your hands before and after feeding, avoid sharing food and bedding, and sleep in a separate room from your pets. Keep your pets isolated from you as much as possible.
- If your pet becomes sick with respiratory symptoms, isolate them from other pets in the house and keep cats who roam outdoors inside.
How to help your pets in this difficult time
Since your veterinary team is required to wear masks while working closely with each other, your pets will be seeing people with masks on at the clinic, on the street, and possibly even in the home. Here are some suggestions for helping your pet to become more comfortable with masks.
- Put your own mask on in front of your pet
- Give your pet a yummy treat and lots of praise
- Do this randomly throughout the day to help your pet to learn that masks aren’t scary
- If you see other people wearing masks while out on your walk, give your dog praise and treats then, too
We thank you for your patience, understanding, and trust in our team as we navigate this challenging situation. Rest assured that there are currently no concerns that pets will contribute to increasing the spread of infection among people, and so far, all of the pet cases have been comparatively mild. If you have any concerns about your pet’s health, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team by call, text, or email.
For additional information, follow the links below:
- AVMA – https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/covid-19/sars-cov-2-animals-including-pets
- CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/s0422-covid-19-cats-NYC.html
- CBS News – https://www.cbsnews.com/news/2-pet-cats-new-york-test-positive-for-covid19-new-coronavirus-today-2020-04-22/
- USA Today – https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/04/22/2-cats-test-positive-coronavirus-new-york-first-us-pets/3006433001/
- NBC NY – https://www.nbcnewyork.com/…/north-carolina-pug-ca…/2392943/