The coronavirus pandemic is a difficult and confusing time for most people, and there have been conflicting reports on how exactly this virus can impact our companion animals. That’s why Lady Freethinker Founder Nina Jackel spoke with with veterinarian Dr. Scott Weese to answer all of your questions about coronavirus and pets.
Dr. Weese is a veterinary internist and a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. He is a Professor at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Director of the University of Guelph Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses, and Chief of Infection Control at the Ontario Veterinary College Teaching Hospital.
Here is a quick summary of the above video:
QUESTION: Can my pet be a carrier of coronavirus and transmit the virus to me?
ANSWER SUMMARY: Yes, some animals can be infected … We don’t really know if pets can transmit the virus to humans.
Q: Is it possible for a pet to get noticeably sick?
AS: Most animals are probably asymptomatic … Some cats will probably show mild upper-respiratory infections … Most dogs will probably not show signs of illness.
Q: Is it safe for pets to go outside, and are they at risk of contracting the virus if they do?
AS: Going outside isn’t the issue … Contact is the issue … Social distancing applies to your animal too.
Q: Is it possible for a human to have contact with a sick animal and then transmit the disease to you?
AS: The animal’s hair coat can get contaminated, but the virus doesn’t survive long on this surface … This is probably a fairly low-risk thing.
Q: Do you recommend other people not pet your companion animal?
AS: Yes … The more we keep animals removed from this human disease, the better.
Q: Do people still have access to veterinary care?
AS: It depends on where you are, but for the most part, yes … If your animal has a life-threatening problem, we absolutely see him or her … We are trying to reduce physical visits with telemedicine for non-urgent cases.
Q: Do you have any general advice for guardians concerned by this?
AS: Relax … If your companion animal has COVID-19, you’re more likely to have given it to him or her than he or she was to have given it to you.