Can my pet catch the coronavirus?

The spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19 virus) is getting more media attention every day at the moment, so it’s no surprise a lot of pet owners are worried.

The good news is, current advice from the World Health Organisation is that there’s no evidence that pets can be a source of infection or that they can become sick as a result of Covid-19.

However, we encourage all pet owners to take sensible precautions, and follow the latest Government advice.

Here, PDSA Vet Nurse Joanne Wright looks at some of the key questions that may be on the minds of pet owners across the country.

I am self-isolating, can my pet stay with me?
Yes, in most cases your pet can stay with you. However, when self-isolating, you will need to make sure your pets continue to be properly looked after. Read our guidance for pet owners on this – www.pdsa.org.uk/updates

Does my pet need to wear a mask?
No, putting a mask on your pet isn’t something we’d recommend. Wearing a face mask could be distressing for pets and may affect their ability to breathe normally, particularly in flat-faced breeds.

Can pets spread Covid-19?
The virus is most commonly passed from person to person through coughing and sneezing. There is some evidence that the virus can live on surfaces for some time, depending on the type of material. However, there’s currently no evidence that pets can spread Covid-19 to people. It’s best to follow standard good hygiene practices, such as regularly washing your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water, especially after handling or feeding your pet. It’s always sensible to avoid letting your pet lick your face. There is no need to give up or quarantine pets and we would urge owners not to panic.

What should I do if my pet starts coughing and sneezing?
If you notice any signs of illness in your pet we would advise calling your vet as usual in the first instance. They will advise you on the best course of action based on your circumstances. Please don’t take your pet into a vet unannounced! There is currently no evidence to suggest that dogs and cats can become ill from the Covid-19 virus.

Is it still OK to take my pet into work with me?
Based on current Government advice, people should work from home where they can and stop all unnecessary travel. Keep yourself updated on the development of this disease and follow the latest advice.

As a pet owner, what can I do to prevent the spread of Covid-19?
Following good hygiene practices, such as washing your hands frequently, especially after handling or feeding pets. Follow all the latest Government advice and try to make plans now in case you need to stay at home for a period of time. We’d suggest making sure you have enough pet supplies to last up to two weeks and to make contacts in your local area who can drop off items if needed.

What if I can’t leave the house but my pet needs veterinary care or a prescription?
There’s no need to let pets suffer needlessly, give your vet a call to discuss your situation and see how they may be able to help.  Vets may be able to post out  certain repeat medications, and some may be offering phone consultations to avoid unnecessary travel. If you are self-isolating and your pet urgently needs to see a vet, you can usually arrange for someone else to take your pet in for you.

Call your vet first though to check this.For more information, go to www.pdsa.org.uk/updates


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