Vet Report: Coronavirus, veterinary clinics and animals

Vet Report: Coronavirus, veterinary clinics and animals

Lainie Kringen-Scholtz

Lainie Kringen-Scholtz

I hate to add to the coronavirus hype, but we are getting a lot of questions about how the human coronavirus can impact animals.

Below is a discussion with information from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Can our pets, horses, and livestock contract COVID-19?

To date, no pets or other domestic animals have been reported to have COVID-19. Along with that, there is no evidence that domestic animals, including pets and livestock, can spread this virus. Many domestic animals have their own version of coronavirus that they may contract as young animals, but just like with COVID-19, these viruses are generally species-specific.

Can animals transmit COVID-19?

After a literature review from the AVMA, there is potential for animals to act as fomites with the virus. A fomite is an object or material that carries infection. As you can imagine, a person who has COVID-19 could cough around their animals, pet them, etc., leading to respiratory droplets remaining on the animal’s coat. If another person then touches the animal and then touches their face, they could, in theory, contract the virus. Please remember that the current expert understanding is that this virus is primarily transmitted from person-to-person.

How do I keep my animals safe?

Make sure that you are not letting your pets out to play with other animals, letting them sniff other animals, and letting other people in your home. Keep two weeks of pet food on hand. Work with your local veterinary clinic to get all mediations that are needed during this time.

What if I have COVID-19 and I have pets?

Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended to limit your contact with your pets and animals if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Wear a face mask, do not kiss or hug them, do not sleep with them, and do not share food. Wash your hands before and after contact with your pet. Again, there have not been any reports of pets contracting COVID-19.

What if I do not have COVID-19 and I have pets?

Interact with your pets as normal but continue on with good hygiene.

Are veterinary clinics still open?

Yes we are! The AVMA is urging all authorities to designate veterinary practices as essential businesses so we have a unique challenge in keeping our staff, clients and animals safe.

We are washing our hands after every interaction with animals and using hand sanitizer. Any veterinary team member that is feeling sick does not come to work. Sanitizing every room after every patient seen has been critical for us.

We are also offering owners to stay in their vehicles and we will come get their pet from them for their exam or treatment. If clients come in, we are having them maintain 6 feet between themselves and others. We are encouraging clients not to touch other people’s animals as well.

Veterinary clinics are feeling the effects of COVID-19. Not necessarily from a decrease in patients seen, but rather because our critical supplies such as sterile gloves, exam gloves, and surgical masks are limited. We are diligently working to keep our shelves stocked, and keeping our staff, clients, and patients healthy through these difficult times.

The Vet Report is provided in conjunction with Prairie View Veterinary Clinic with locations in Miller, Redfield, Wessington Springs and Highmore, S.D. Dr. Lainie Kringen-Scholtz is Associate Veterinarian at Animal Medical Care in Brookings, South Dakota 

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