Coronavirus Update: Frequently Asked Questions:
1. If animals (especially felines) can contract the virus, can they pass it back to people? Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that pets, livestock, or zoo animals can spread the COVID-19 virus to people.
2. Should we have our cats and dogs tested for COVID-19? No. Routine testing of domestic animals for COVID-19 is not being recommended by the AVMA, CDC, USDA, or the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD).
3. What should the pet owner do if they think their pet has the virus? Reinforce the need to call the veterinary clinic with any questions about the pet’s health. Have the owner call ahead to ensure the veterinary clinic is prepared for the pet. Also, make sure to ask if the animal was exposed to a person sick with COVID-19 and if the pet is showing any signs of illness.
4. Should people stop interacting with their pets? If the owner is not ill with COVID-19, they can and should interact with their pets as usual—including feeding, playing, etc. Advise them to continue to practice good hygiene when interacting with pets (e.g., wash hands before and after interacting with the pet; keep bedding, toys, bowls, litter boxes clean; etc.)
5. There are not enough human COVID-19 tests, why are animals being tested? The tests differ between humans and animals. The test used to diagnose the Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo was performed in a veterinary school laboratory and is not the same test as is used for people. The species differ; human samples do not get sent to the veterinary laboratory, and animal tests do not get sent to the human laboratories.³ These are different situations and there is no competition for testing.
Coronavirus Update: Can I get the virus from my cat?
As news continues to circulate, we would like to address concerns that many owners have about transmission of the virus from cats to humans, or vice versa. There has been one documented case of feline COVID-19, a cat owned by a person in Belgium who tested positive for the virus. Currently, it is believed that the cat was infected by the owner, not the other way around. However, we would like to clarify that the cat was never seen by a veterinarian, the infected owner collected and sent in the samples herself, so at this point there is still a possibility and discussion that the sample may have been contaminated by the owner, and may not have even been a positive test.
We also want to assure you that there is currently no evidence to support that cats can transmit coronavirus to humans.
It is recommended that if anyone is diagnosed with COVID-19, they should restrict their contact with their pets, wash their hands before and after interacting with them, which includes cleaning litter boxes. Although there is no documentation of transmission from cat to human, if your cat begins experiencing respiratory illness or fever, it is recommended to quarantine them, wash your hands before and after handling them, and contact your veterinarian immediately.
We advise you to NOT wipe down your cat with disinfectant wipes or spray them with Lysol, as this has caused poisonings and skin sloughing.
We would like to thank you for your cooperation thus far with the adjustments we have made to our clinic protocols to limit person-to-person interaction and help prevent the spread of the virus.
Your friends at A Cat's View
In light of the recent events and concerns over the Coronavirus, we want to ensure you that your health and safety are our top priority. We have implemented measures to help limit exposure and prevent spread. Although we already practice a protocol of disinfecting the exam rooms between each cat, we have increased the frequency of sanitization of office supplies, doorknobs, and other commonly touched surfaces. We are washing our hands properly before and after each appointment, limiting our staff numbers, and reducing physical interactions.
You can help us in our efforts as well! As a precaution, we encourage that any routine wellness exam or non-essential recheck appointments be rescheduled after April 12, 2020. We want to ensure you, however, that we are still here for you if your cat is feeling ill or experiencing a medical emergency.
If you are coming to pick up a prescription, we ask that you call ahead of time so that we may take your medications to your car for you. We also have hand sanitizers available at check-in/check-out. Although we enjoy seeing you, if you or a family member is experiencing symptoms of illness, such as fever or coughing, please give us a call so that we may reschedule your appointment or make special arrangements so that we may care for your cat while keeping everyone safe from exposure.
We encourage you to frequently check the updated guidelines published by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at www.cdc.gov/COVID19.
At this time, cats are not known to be infected by or transmit the Coronavirus, although anyone or any object could potentially serve act as a source of infection, just like a contaminated surface would.
Thank you for your cooperation and support during this time of uncertainty. We will continue to do our best to care for your feline family members while keeping their humans safe! If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at (760) 749-0099.
Your friends at A Cat's View