COVID-19 Pet Advisory Thread

March 13, 2020

This is an open thread that is updated regularly. If you are bringing your pet to the hospital, please visit our COVID-19 Information page to plan your visit.

Is it possible for pets to catch COVID-19?

Idexx Laboratories, a global leader in veterinary diagnostics which our hospital uses, has tested thousands of canine and feline specimens without a single positive result. There are, however, reports in China that a few animals tested “weak positive” without showing symptoms, becoming ill, or being contagious to humans. There is no evidence that pets can pass the virus to humans.

Can pets potentially spread COVID-19?

There is no evidence that pets can pass the virus to humans. However, we do know that COVID-19 can live on various surfaces for brief periods of time, and perhaps up to 17 days without proper sanitation, including on the fur of our pets if an infected person coughs or sneezes on the animal. While unlikely, it is therefore theoretically plausible that the virus could pass to a person who comes in contact with an animal after an infected person has sneezed or coughed on that animal. This would be like touching a doorknob or using a computer keyboard following use by an infected person. It is important to note that, while theoretically plausible, there have been no reports of such transmission from pets to humans anywhere in the world.

What should pet owners do if someone in the household is ill with COVID-19?

Pet owners should always practice good hygiene.  Wash your hands after handling pets, their supplies and food.  This good hygiene should be a natural carryover during the COVID-19 outbreak. If a person in the household is infected with COVID-19, as a precaution they should limit their contact with pets in the household.  If you contract COVID-19, avoid coughing, sneezing and kissing on your pet.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some coronaviruses cause cold-like illnesses in people, while others cause illness in certain types of animals, such as cattle, camels, and bats. Some coronaviruses, such as canine and feline coronaviruses, only infect animals and do not infect humans.

What should pet owners do in case of a quarantine situation?

It is always a good idea to include pets in any emergency preparedness plan. This would apply to being prepared in case of a natural disaster as well as the coronavirus situation.  You should have two weeks of food and medication on hand.  It is also a good idea to have a copy of medical records and identification.  In addition, have a contingency plan for someone to care for your pets in case you need to leave home to seek medical attention.

Is Saint Francis open during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Yes. Saint Francis is a 24-hour advanced pet healthcare center and both our South Jersey locations remain open, though we are operating under special protocols at this time. If you must visit our hospitals, review our COVID-19 Information page for important information to plan your visit.

As the 2019 North American Accredited Practice of the Year (Woolwich Township location, American Animal Hospital Association), we are equipped and trained to operate under circumstances like the COVID-19 outbreak. Because we deal with patients who often have zoonotic disease (contagious to people), our standard operating procedures include optimal hospital sterilization, sanitation and personal hygiene that comport with CDC and AVMA COVID-19 guidelines.

What are good resources for information?