Pets and COVID-19: What you need to know

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – While we’re focused on social distancing from our friends and family, should we be doing the same for our pets?

Dr. Henri Bianucci, the owner of the surgical division, and part owner of Veterinary Specialty Care says that coronavirus has been around in pets for some time.   

Coronaviruses are very ubiquitous things. They cause the SARS outbreak, the MERS outbreak, the common colds, they’re very common viruses in house hold pets. So dogs get a respiratory form of coronavirus—but it’s not the coronavirus. 

Dr. Henri Bianucci, Owner of the Surgical Division, Part Owner of VSC 

While dogs may not be able to contract COVID-19 specifically, household cats are not out of the question.

It is possible for a cat, to spread it another cat—a house hold cat, spread it to another cat. We have no evidence that they ever spread it to a human being. However, they could be a potential reservoir and I think that warrants some caution down the road. 

Dr. Henri Bianucci, Owner of the Surgical Division, Part Owner of VSC 

One of the precautions their office is taking is wiping down the animals with alcohol to reduce traces of the virus on them.

As for shaving your pets, Dr. Bianucci says that it could potentially help as it lessens the amount of surface on the animal.

Despite many things being unknown at this time with the virus—one thing is for certain.  

It’s very unlikely that your cat is going to bring COVID home to you. He’s likely to get it from you. So if you have clinical signs, try to limit your contact with your animal so that you don’t, particularly your cat, so you don’t spread that to them. 

Dr. Henri Bianucci, Owner of the Surgical Division, Part Owner of VSC 

When deciding whether to social distance from your pet, be sure to take reasonable precautions. If you do not practice or are unable to social distance, your animal could be at risk.

As of now, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in pets in U.S.

For more information on COVID-19 in animals, click here.

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