Can your pets get COVID-19 (or give it to you)?

April 14, 2020 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

This blog was originally posted in 2020. Some information may be out of date. For the latest updates on vaccines, testing, screening, visitor policy and post-COVID support, visit EEHealth.org/coronavirus.

As you take steps to protect yourself and your family against COVID-19, you may wonder if your pets are at risk for the disease or if they can spread it.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread from person to person through droplets from coughing, sneezing and talking. Learn more about how COVID-19 spreads. Experts continue to investigate whether the virus can be transmitted between humans and pets.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence to date to suggest that pets can spread the disease to humans.

It is unclear whether humans, on the other hand, may be able to infect their pets. The CDC is aware of a small number of cases of household pets being infected in other countries, and a tiger at a New York City zoo tested positive for the disease.

British Veterinary Association report found that in a small number of cases, cats can show clinical signs of disease but dogs do not show symptoms. Also, the report suggests that cats can carry the virus in their fur if held by an infected person.

Until more information is available, the CDC recommends limited contact between COVID-19 positive patients and their pets.

Those who become ill, should:

  • Have another family member care for their pet, if possible.
  • Avoid contact — including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked and sharing food — with your pet.
  • If you must care for your pet, be sure to wash your hands before and after taking care of your pet.
  • Keep your pet cats indoors (only if the cat is happy to be indoors, as some cats need to be let outside due to stress-related medical reasons).

A test to check whether your pet has COVID-19 is available, according to the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. Tests must be submitted by a veterinarian and include the rationale for the test. Requests are then reviewed by the state’s animal health officer and the state public health veterinarian for approval on a case-by-case basis, according to U of I’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

The CDC does not recommend your pet wear a face mask when out in public. The CDC also currently discourages visits to long-term care facilities by service animals and their handlers.

The information in this article may change at any time due to the changing landscape of this pandemic. Read the latest on COVID-19.

For more information about coronavirus, visit Healthy Driven Chicago.

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