COVID-19 Update: Pets and Other Animals

What Does This Mean for Animals?

You may have seen in the news cases of animals, including domestic pets, who have tested positive for COVID-19. This is not surprising or alarming based on the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide. There is still no evidence that pets play a role in spreading COVID-19 in the United States.

AHS, in alignment with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), is encouraging the following:

People ill with COVID-19:

  • Restrict contact with pets and other animals, just as they would restrict their contact with other people.
  • Have an emergency plan in place that includes arrangements for another member of the household or business to take care of feeding and otherwise caring for any pets.
  • If they have a service animal or they must care for their animals: wear a cloth facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash hands before and after any contact with them.

People NOT ill:

  • Interact with their animals as normal, including feeding and otherwise caring for them.
  • Continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions (e.g., wash hands before and after interacting with your animals, including handling of food, supplies, and waste; keep food, water, and any supplies used to deliver them clean; remove soiled bedding and replace as appropriate).

AHS will continue our efforts to make pet owners aware of how important it is to have an emergency plan in place for pets ahead of time to ensure that their pet’s care, food, medication and other supplies are readily available should they need to enact the plan.

We will continue to keep you apprised of important news and updates regarding COVID-19 and how they may impact both the Arizona Humane Society, as well as your own pets you love. Thank you for continuing to make animals a priority during these very difficult times.

 

Dogs

April 28, 2020 – A Pug in North Carolina has tested positive for COVID-19. The dog was part of a Duke University study in which a whole family in Chapel Hill were tested for the virus. According to multiple news reports, the mother, father, son and the Pug, who had mild symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19 while the daughter, another dog and a cat tested negative. There is still no evidence that pets play a role in spreading COVID-19 in the United States. We continue to agree with the CDC and AVMA recommendation that those individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should consider their pets exposed and possibly infected. Also, people should limit interactions between their pets and people or animals outside the household.

Cats

April 23, 2020 – Two domestic cats in New York have tested positive for COVID-19. There is still no evidence that pets play a role in spreading COVID-19 in the United States. We continue to agree with the CDC and AVMA recommendation that those individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should consider their pets exposed and possibly infected. Also, people should limit interactions between their pets and people or animals outside the household.

Tigers

April 7, 2020 –  The Bronx Zoo announced one of its tigers tested positive for COVID-19, and it is presumed the source is an asymptomatic zoo employee. Many of you are asking, “What does this mean for the domestic cats we have in our own homes?”

Much more research is needed. That is why the Arizona Humane Society’s veterinarians are actively working alongside national animal groups to understand this newest development. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rapidly evolve, it is apparent that we need more information to truly understand the effects of the disease on big cats and, subsequently, domestic cats.

First, despite reports emerging regarding the tiger at the Bronx Zoo, people are not at risk of acquiring COVID-19 from indoor cats who have not been exposed to humans carrying the COVID-19 virus. However, at this time, we don’t know for certain that domestic cats can become naturally infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. And we don’t know if an infected cat can transmit the virus back to people.

While we have not seen suspicious cases locally or at AHS, preliminary research suggests that cats in homes with COVID-19 positive individuals should be considered exposed and possibly infected.