Dogs, Cats & Covid - Oh My!

San Antonio Veterinarian discusses Coronavirus and Pets.

As of Sunday 3/22/2020, there is ZERO evidence that a pet dog or cat can become ill with or transmit COVID-19 to a human 1,2,3,4. So practice Universal Hygiene 5,6,7,8 and love your pets! Before you quote this veterinarian, please look at my disclaimer and let’s dig into the available “facts” from San Antonio and beyond.

I am NOT an M.D. (Medical Doctor). I am a DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine). Based on my licensure, I am NOT legally allowed to make medical diagnoses, recommendations, or treatments for a human. Your behaviors are ultimately decided upon by you and your medical doctor.

At this time, there is NO consensus among the leading authorities on how to handle your pets during this season. And this lack of consensus only adds fuel to the fear people are experiencing. Let’s try to bring some clarity.

A word on Universal Hygiene from the Texas Department of State Health Services:

  • Wash hands often for 20 seconds and encourage others to do the same.
  • If no soap and water are available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Disinfect surfaces, buttons, handles, knobs, and other places touched often.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick7.

Do what your medical doctor and the State of Texas say, then go hug your pets1. Don’t share your pets with people who are sick with coronavirus. If you are sick with coronavirus, please don’t cough or sneeze on your pet and then share your pet with other people. There are recommended protocols for appropriate bathing of pets to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Remember the parts above about “wash hands7” and “disinfect surfaces… and other places touched often7.” Your pet counts as “surfaces… and other places touched often7.”

In fact, research has shown that pets may make you healthier during this coronavirus season. A study in 2015 concluded that pet ownership saves at least $11.7 BILLION annually in U.S. Healthcare costs! That report also references “scientific studies showing a positive impact from pet ownership on infection control, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cholesterol, allergies, stress, blood pressure and psychological issues…” 9.

It appears that caring for a pet helps mitigate many of the risk factors that lead to increased susceptibility to acquiring the coronavirus!

Please continue to provide care for your pets. There are reports across the internet of animals being abandoned and neglected due to unfounded risk factors.

What about the two dogs in China that tested positive? What is Acorn Hill Animal Hospital doing to protect me and my pets amid coronavirus concerns in San Antonio? How do I bathe my pet properly to reduce spread of coronavirus? Should I use the coronavirus vaccine on my dog? Stay posted, all of this and more to come!

References

1 Human Medical Doctor and Virologist effectively say – Hug Pets NOT People!

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/20/health/pets-dogs-cats-coronavirus-wellness/index.html

2 World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Press Release

https://wsava.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/WSAVA-Reassures-Pet-Owners.pdf

3 World Organisation for Animal Health

https://www.oie.int/scientific-expertise/specific-information-and-recommendations/questions-and-answers-on-2019novel-coronavirus/

4 Major Veterinary Laboratory has not found Covid-19 in Pet Samples 

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/antech-aligns-with-global-health-organizations-on-covid-19-in-cats-and-dogs-no-virus-detected-301026782.html

5 CDC

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

6 WHO

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

7 Texas Department of State Health Services

https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/#prevent

8 San Antonio Metropolitan Health

https://www.sanantonio.gov/Health/News/Alerts/CoronaVirus

9 Health Benefits of a Pet

https://habri.org/pressroom/20151214

https://habri.org/assets/uploads/HABRI_Report_-_Healthcare_Cost_Savings_from_Pet_Ownership_.pdf

10 Pets and Preventing Loneliness

11 WSAVA Veterinarian Letter

https://wsava.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19_WSAVA-Advisory-Document-Mar-19-2020.pdf

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