Facing an increase in questions relating to the coronavirus and its impacts on pets and companion animals, the Santa Barbara Humane Society says there is no evidence that dogs and cats can contract the specific virus, known as COVID-19.
“The fact that the virus has been around since January, at this point we would know it’s jumping into the pet population,” Dr. Katie Marrie, the organization’s Vice President of Veterinary Medicine, told the News-Press. “Hopefully everyone can rest assured that their animals can stay with them. It’s really a person-to-person virus.”
Dr. Marrie released a statement Tuesday, citing the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, also known as the Global Veterinary Community. “Currently there is no evidence that companion animals can be infected with or spread COVID-19,” Dr. Marrie said, adding that veterinary officials are keeping up to date with all current developments and new information as it becomes available.
With no evidence that pets can contract coronavirus, there is no current vaccine for pets.
Dr. Marrie and the humane society cite recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding how people who test positive should respond with their pets.
“You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.”
There was a dog who tested positive for the disease, though officials noted that the dog showed no signs of infection and could have been contaminated, not infected, with the disease.
For more information on this or other health impacts on animals, visit www.sbhumanesociety.org or smvhs.org.