With the self-isolation in full force around the globe, having a pet around can help cut down the loneliness.
But you are probably wondering if your beloved pet will infect you with Coronavirus/COVID-19 or not?
Amid the pandemic that’s been plaguing the entire planet and one report of a Pomeranian dog’s death in Hong Kong after being infected with Corona virus, the animal and pet lovers have been left confused.
But worry not, we’re here to assure you regarding the global outbreak and also present you with a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to keep you updated.
Will my pet infect me?
That would be a big fat NO!
Although the global outbreak has created worldwide panic, there has been no evidence according to the World Health Organization (WHO) that pets can transmit Coronavirus .
The UN agency, states that Coronavirus usually spreads when an infected person speaks, coughs or sneezes.
Therefore, it is not necessary to take precautionary measures against pets which may compromise their welfare.
The body, however, suggested that you frequently clean your hands with soap and water to stay safe and reduce the spread of the disease especially after handling your pet animals.
But, pets can transmit other diseases!
Although our favorite animals are yet to transmit Coronavirus, other illnesses can be transmitted from animals to people too.
These diseases are commonly known as zoonotic diseases .
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 6 of 10 infectious diseases in humans are spread from animals.
Also, every 3 out 4 new or emerging infectious diseases are spread from animals as well.
These diseases are transmitted through the same methods as Coronavirus that is via bodily fluids, feces, water and food bowls, etc.
So we would suggest you to always maintain proper hygiene while trying to handle your beloved pets.
Can I take my pets along during self-isolation?
Yes, your pet can stay with you if you are not affected by the Coronavirus.
What’s the point of staying in self-isolation and getting bored alone right?
But if you’re self-isolating on a doctor’s advice, make sure to ask a friend or family member to take care of Milo for a few days and give him the ‘pet box’ which you will get to know about later in the post.
What do we know about Coronavirus and pets?
Let’s get back to the story of the brave dog who lost his life to the deadly Coronavirus.
Turns out, the dog was infected following close exposure to its owners who were sick with Coronavirus, as reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) by the Veterinary Services of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China
Also, the test, conducted by real-time PCR on the dog, showed that they did not play a role in spreading the disease.
Can pets act as a reservoir between the virus and me?
So far no! But, if pets do become infected, then there is a high probability that they can act as a reservoir to transmit the disease amongst humans.
In cases such as this, we would suggest you deal with them in the same way human cases are dealt with.
Also, veterinary hospital need to remain be prepared for an upsurge in animal cases.
Does my pet need quarantine?
No, your pet does not require quarantine.
With the internet and meme community now filled pets equipped with face masks, their advantages are very meager.
Truth is, if you’re planning to follow the same route, it may cause distress to your favorite buddy and they may show signs of mental stress and sickness.
But if you are especially worried, then it is suggested that you sanitize the paws of your pet after having had a walk outside (make sure to not overdo it though).
Can Coronavirus affect my pets?
No. Your pets are not at risk from Coronavirus.
It is, however, important to remember that sometimes a species can be infected with viruses but not spread or transmit it to others (humans and animals).
Can I test my pets for Coronavirus?
Yes. Recently, veterinarians acquired the equipment necessary to screen Coronavirus in dogs. But the problem is, it might be costly due to the limited capacity at labs.
Should we conduct tests on the pets of the confirmed cases of Coronavirus?
Although it’s not on the priority list at the moment, it should be discussed. However, if more cases like the Hong Kong Pomeranian start to arise, then the health organizations should take the matter more seriously.
How to protect pets from catching the virus if you’re sick?
If you are tested positive with Coronavirus, it is suggested that you restrict contact with pets and other animals so that you don’t make them sick as well.
If possible, ask someone else to take care of your pet during the time.
It is also advised to avoid direct contact, including petting and snuggling your pets if you’re sick with a disease.
Guidelines to protect our pets from catching Coronavirus
The common guidelines as included by the WHO will come in handy in protecting yourself as well as your pets from catching the Coronavirus. They include:
- Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling pets, their food as well as their excrement.
- Remember to clean up after your pets and follow hygienic practices.
- Make regular visits to the veterinarian.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes.
- Make sure you and your pets avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you have a fever or cold stay home and away from your pet.
- Remember to cover your mouth whenever you cough or sneeze. Use tissues and throw them away in the bin.
- Disinfect frequently touched furniture.
- Maintain personal space.
- Vaccinate your pets.
- And finally, refrain from shaking hands.
What should I do if my pet needs veterinary care whilst I’m sick?
One of the things that is suggested is you ask someone close to you to take your pet out to the veterinary. But if that is not possible, then, call your veterinary clinic or emergency veterinary hospital for getting pet health-care services at home.
It is also necessary to vaccinate your pets for Bordetella, canine and parainfluenza, the common respiratory diseases caught by pets.
The veterinarian can also assist you in determining vaccines necessary for your pet.
Is there a vaccination available for my pets against Coronavirus?
Sadly, no! However, the WHO estimates a vaccine for humans to be available within 12-18 months.
Have a pet preparedness plan
With all the FAQs answered, we now need to look at having a pet preparedness plan, a crucial thing necessary at the face of the global pandemic.
One of the core reasons you need this is because the pandemic might anytime cause a global lockdown and its better to be safe rather than sorry.
Also, we humans can survive somehow, but, our beloved buddies, who solely rely on us, will be left at the world’s end if necessary precautions are not taken for them.
After rigorous research, we have prepared a list of things required for the plan:
- Stock up on pet food supplies and products in case of a global lockdown.
- Spot a friend or family member who can take care of your pets in case you become ill.
- Keep a ‘pet box’ filled with food and extra supplies close at hand in case of quick movement of pets.
- Keep your pets vaccinated up to date.
- Ensure all pet medications as well as prescriptions are at hand and updated.
- Make sure that your pet has an identification collar
A pet emergency kit (the pet box we talked about earlier) should also be kept nearby.
The kits should be made in a waterproof container and must include:
- Seven days worth of pet food supply and water
- Food bowls
- Pet’s medications (for two weeks or more, if required)
- Litter boxes
- Prescriptions and medical records of your pets
- Extra collars and leashes
- Photos along with a description of your pets
- Pet first aid kit along with an instruction manual
- Stickers that can be used to write information on your pet’s tags
It is now up to us to protect ourselves from Coronavirus and keep our pets safe as well.
Although, they are highly unlikely to catch the virus, with only one real case, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Right?
This can be achieved by maintaining proper hygienic practices and washing our hands regularly along with the use of sanitizers.
We also need to supervise young children around our pets and teach them not to put their hands in their mouths after petting Milo or Max.
But it is highly suggested to keep your favorite buddies indoors until the pandemic resides.