You may have heard a bit about COVID-19 and pets in the media. We are still learning, as the situation unfolds, but we do know a few things about COVID-19 and your pets.
The doggy coronavirus (Canine CoV) that we occasionally vaccinate for in puppies is completely different to COVID-19. It is not related to any form of illness in people. It does not spread to people and it is not caught from people. It is a virus that causes vomiting and diarrhoea in puppies only (and in most older dogs it causes no illness at all).
The few dogs that have tested positive to COVID-19 have shown no signs of illness.
There is currently no evidence that people can catch COVID-19 from dogs, but we strongly recommend practising good hygiene with your dogs. Wash your hands after handling and avoid face kisses!
Unlike dogs, cats can catch COVID-19 from humans and it can make them sick. This includes large cats such as tigers!
If you have tested positive to COVID-19 you need to remain isolated. Given that cats have the potential to become unwell from you, this includes being isolated from your cats! If you are in a house where someone else is able to care for the pets, try to avoid contact with your cats, and have someone else care for them. If there is no-one to assist you, try to minimise close contact with your pet. That can be hard when they are your best friend, so try to wash your hands thoroughly, avoid kissing, sneezing or coughing on your pet as much as possible, and discourage them from licking you. Please don’t use hand sanitiser or disinfectants on your pet – these are toxic to pets.
We have no evidence that people can catch COVID-19 from cats at this stage. If you are practising social distancing and your cat is kept indoors, your cat will likely remain healthy as well. This means you should not need to worry about catching COVID-19 from your cat if your cat is kept indoors.
Ferrets have been infected with COVID-19 – but this was by deliberate exposure to high levels of the virus. So far we have not seen human to ferret transmission, but just in case, practise similar hygiene protocols as you would with your other pets. Wash your hands, avoid sneezing or coughing on your pets, and discourage licking and kisses from your pet.
By following some simple precautions, we should be able to keep our pets healthy – as well as ourselves.