COVID 19 Advice to Pet Owners

Can COVID-19 virus make pets sick?

No.  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 may be a case of human to animal transmission, however the dog’s first blood tests were negative. At this stage there is still no evidence that pet dogs or cats are a source of infection to other animals or humans or that they become sick. We are continuing to monitor this situation and will provide updated information as it becomes available.

Jack Russell Watercolour Tuggeranong Vet Hospital

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 veterinarian even if your pet is unwell. By doing this you will put your veterinarian and staff at risk of infection. Ring us and ask for advice. If your pet needs to be seen, your veterinarian will be able to work with you to ensure your pet will receive the care they need, while keeping themselves and their staff safety from COVID-19 infection.

Coronavirus and Pets

The primary source of SARS-COV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19 infection) transmission remains human-to human contact. At this stage there is no evidence that dogs can play a role in the spread of this human disease, or that they become sick.

There has been some concern from clients about canine enteric coronavirus and the coronavirus which causes FIP in cats. These are distinctly different viruses to the one causing the human disease of COVID-19. They do not cause infections in humans.

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 members. 

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 to continue to practice appropriate hand hygiene before and after handling their pet, and 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. The CDC has recommended that ‘when possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. 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 face mask’.  Appropriate hand hygiene practices should be practised after handling your pets, as well as their food. This includes always washing hands if organic material is present, and drying hands with a disposable paper towel. Use of an alcohol-based hand rub in the absence of organic matter. Soap and water hand washing over a 20-second period is sufficient. 

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