My name is Dr. Nathan Ritter and I am one of the associate veterinarians here at Hudson Animal Hospital. I am writing this blog post to shed some light on the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and what implications this disease has for our furry family members.
Information in this post has been collected from resources supplied by the New York State Veterinary Medical Society and the American Veterinary Medical Association. First and foremost, at this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and World Organisation for Animal Health all state that there is no evidence that companion animals spread COVID-19.
While a pet dog in Hong Kong tested "weak positive", this only means that the virus was found to be living on the surface of the dog's nasal passages and not that the virus had actually infected the dog. Hong Kong officials state the dog continues to show no clinical signs of illness, remains under quarantine, is being well cared for, and will continue to be monitored and tested. There have been no reports of pets or livestock becoming ill or spreading the coronavirus in the United States.
If you are concerned about bringing the disease to your household, there are measures that can be taken to decrease this risk. Examples include: washing one's hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching one's face, avoid close contact with individuals who are sick, avoid going out in public if one is sick, covering one's mouth when coughing or sneezing, regularly disinfect commonly used objects and surfaces, vaccinate one's pets as recommended by your veterinarian (currently there is no vaccine for COVID-19 for people or pets), limit contact with one's pets if you or someone you are close to contracts the coronavirus.
As always, any animal showing serious illness should be examined by a veterinarian. Additionally, pets should be included in emergency preparedness planning, including keeping a supply of food and medications readily available. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact us!