Coronavirus infection in pets can occur and has generally been the result of exposure to people who have COVID-19, though illness from infection remains extremely rare in dogs and cats.
As a precaution, please protect your pets if you are sick with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The CDC advises the following:
“Until we learn more about this new coronavirus, you should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would with people. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including
- Being kissed or licked
- Sharing food or bedding
If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a cloth face covering."
If you are sick with COVID-19 and have a pet who needs to be seen by a veterinarian for a routine appointment, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) advises delaying the visit until you are healthy and cleared by your physician and public health officials. For ill pets, please consult with public health officials and your veterinarian (call first).
If your pet is displaying signs of respiratory illness, be aware that at this time, routine SARS-CoV-2 testing of pets is not recommended. In uncommon situations, further evaluation may be warranted if specific criteria are met and other more common causes of illness have been ruled out. This decision should be a joint collaboration between the pet’s veterinarian, animal health officials, and public health officials. If you have concerns regarding your pet’s health, please contact your veterinarian.
Lastly, it is important to share that pets do not seem to play a significant role in the spread of COVID-19. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “There is no evidence to suggest that animals, including pets, that may be incidentally infected by humans are playing a role in the spread of COVID-19.” Furthermore, the CDC says, “Although we know certain bacteria and fungi can be carried on fur and hair, there is no evidence that viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread to people from the skin, fur, or hair of pets.”
For more information on human COVID-19 infection, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html or review information provided by your state or local health department.