In the wake of news by the United States Department of Agriculture and Center for Disease Control that two New York household cats tested positive for the Covid19 virus, Animal Medical releases the following statement to pet owners.
Two New York Cats Test Positive For Covid19
On April 22nd, 2020, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) announced that two domestic cats, living in different parts of New York State, tested positive for the Covid19 corona virus. According to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS):
The cats live in two separate areas of New York state. Both had mild respiratory illness and are expected to make a full recovery. SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in very few animals worldwide, mostly in those that had close contact with a person with COVID-19.
Bronx Big Cats and Hong Kong Dog Also Test Positive for Covid19
This is not the first report of animals testing positive for Covid19. Recently several big cats housed in the Bronx Zoo tested positive for Covid19 after extended exposure to a zoo employee that had been a carrier of the virus. While the big cats had mild symptoms of illness including coughing, none were significantly debilitated by the disease, and all were expected to fully recover. A Hong Kong dog living in close confinement with a COVID19-positive patient tested repeatedly ‘weakly positive’ for the same virus and was quarantined, but failed to ever show signs of illness.
In all cases, it is believed that the animals were infected by humans, not other animals, and that the animals themselves cannot transmit the virus to humans. This reverse zoonoses, disease transmitted from humans to pets, is not surprising in that SARS COV-2 is known to infect ferrets, cats and mink. These are not uncommon occurrences and in the case of COVID-19 do not serve as important vectors of disease to uninfected, naive individuals.
CDC Warns Pet Owners ‘Out Of An Abundance Of Caution’
Still, ‘out of an abundance of caution’, The American Veterinary Medical Association and the CDC continue to recommend that Covid19 positive pet owners limit their exposure to their pets and include pets in social distancing recommendations especially when walking outside. For more information visit the American Veterinary Medical Association
Animal Medical Of New City’s Statement On Pets And Covid19
Animal Medical of New City recognizes how difficult and in some cases, impossible, it may be to try isolated oneself from one’s pet over Covid19-related concerns. Based on what we know about the virus and our experience in animal health, here are our recommendations for pet owners with cats and dogs during the Covid19 outbreak.
- Do not abandon or give up your pet over concerns of infection. If you are infected with Covid19, it is remotely possible that you could infect your cat or your dog, but there have been no reported cases where dogs or cats were significantly sickened by the disease beyond mild coughing or sneezing. It is not believed that dogs or cats can transmit the virus to people.
- If you are sick with Covid19, continue to care for your pet as you would regularly. If possible, you can try to limit your contact time with your pet, especially if you have another trusted member of the household that can take over your pet’s care, but we understand that in most cases distancing oneself from one’s pet may be confusing to the pet and extremely hard on the individual. A safe alternative would be to include your pet in your isolation and to restrict both your and your pet’s exposure to others.
- When walking your dog, keep your pet six feet from others and kindly ask that fellow pedestrians refrain from petting your animal. You should also prevent your dog or cat from interacting with other animals outside of your household. Though there is only scant evidence that pets may be able to transmit the Covid19 virus to one another, (In the case of the Bronx zoo big cats, it is not clear if the zoo keeper was responsible for infecting all cats or if the virus spread from one infected cat to the other.), we believe that this recommendation is acceptably doable and prudent given the seriousness of the disease and the latest information.
Animal Medical Of New City Protects Clients and Patients During Covid19
Animal Medical is an essential business and has remained open during the pandemic albeit with reduced hours. To keep employees, pet owners, and pets as safe as possible during the outbreak, Animal Medical has instituted the following safety protocols:
- Clients with appointments can drive to our practice and safely place their pets in an anteroom of the practice and then return to their cars. Thereafter, our employees will immediately take your pet to the doctor for examination and treatment.
- Pet owners can use the telephone to speak to the veterinarian before and during the examination
- When the examination is complete, the pet is returned to the anteroom where the pet owner can retrieve him or her and return to the car.
- All of our employees wear protective clothing and equipment during work hours to keep them safe and to prevent any disease transmission between humans and pets.
- Employees disinfect all surfaces between each appointment.
- Employees wash hands before and after each treatment and change any protective gear as needed.
- We’ve temporarily suspended cash payments and are only taking credit cards at this time.
- We have temporarily suspended seeing walk-in appointments.
Animal Medical Open For Telemedicine Service
If you would prefer to limit your exposure to the outside and others, Animal Medical of New City offers telemedicine services to clients with an established relationship to our practice. Download the Anipanion app from the Apple App Store (iOS devices) or the Google Play Store (Android devices) to get started with booking your pet’s appointment.