COVID-19 and Companion Animals

Category: Newsletter

Posted on March 18, 2020, 9:11 pm, By Dr Penny Cumines

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Some FAQs for you on COVID-19 and your pets..... 

Please note that this is a rapidly evolving situation and advice provided here is reflective of the evidence at hand (18-03-20). For up to date information on the situation in Australia go to health.gov.au

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that infect birds and mammals, including humans. They are often associated with the common cold, bronchitis and pneumonia, and can also affect the gut. The virus that causes COVID-19 is also a coronavirus and likely originated from a wildlife reservoir. Canine coronavirus, which can cause diarrhoea, and feline coronavirus, which can cause feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), have been seen by veterinarians for many years. They do not cause infections in humans. These coronaviruses are not associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Can COVID-19 infect pets?

There have been reports from Hong Kong that a dog owned by a patient with COVID-19 has tested positive to the presence of the virus in its nose and mouth. This is may be a case of human to animal transmission, however, at this stage there is no evidence that pet dogs or cats are a source of infection to other animals or humans. We are continuing to monitor this situation and will provide updated information as it becomes available. It is best to take precautionary steps when handling pets.

How should we handle our pets as a precaution?

Follow good hygiene when interacting with your pets. Wash Hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching any animal. Avoid sharing food or letting your pets lick your face. Keep up regular vet health checks, vaccinations, and parasite treatments.

 

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Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?

As the outbreak continues, a number of pet owners will be placed in quarantine, either with confirmed COVID-19 infection or due to exposure. We know that your pet is part of your family and you will want them to have the same level of protection and care as any other family member. Current information suggests there is no apparent risk to you or your pet from being in quarantine with you. However, we do advise all pet owners continue to practice appropriate hand hygiene before and after handling their pet, their food and washing food/water bowls. At no stage should pet owners do anything that may compromise the welfare of their pets. We suggest minimising close contact with your pet during this time, such as hugging, face to face contact or sleeping on your bed.

What do I do if I am in quarantine or self-isolation and my pet is unwell?

If you are in quarantine, do not break quarantine to take your pet to the vet even if your pet is unwell. By doing this you will put our team at risk of infection. Ring first and ask for advice. If your pet needs to be seen, we will be able to work with you to ensure your pet will receive the care they need, while keeping our team safe.

 

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What precautionary measures are we taking?

We have lifted our hygiene standards and are regularly disinfecting public areas throughout the day. We have hand sanitizer available at the reception desk and throughout the surgery for your use. We are cleaning the consultation room and equipment between every appointment. A strict well ness policy is in place for our team. We are restricting physical contact and maintaining a 1.5m distance between everyone if possible, so you may notice a change in the way we do some things for your safety and our own. We are encouraging those most at risk (over 60's and immunocompromised) to ask someone else to bring their pet to us, or if this is not possible, then our clients may choose to wait in their car for us to come and talk to them. We may be able to avoid you entering the building altogether. Call us first and discuss what is best for you and your pet.

Thank you for your ongoing support at this time. As with the rest of your family, we recommend continuing to maintain your pets' health and well being by keeping up vaccinations, parasite treatments and regular check ups. We remain open at the same operating hours, and if this changes, we will notify you.

For more information visit these websites:

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
https://www.ava.com.au/coronavirus/

We wish you and your whole family well.

The team at Peninsula Vet Surgery

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