As the world continues to learn more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and taking precautions to prevent the spread, such as social-distancing, we must factor in the health of our pets and how to keep them safe in these uncertain times. Dr. Mark Verdino, Senior Vice President and Chief of Veterinary Staff at our Pet Health Centers offers these guidelines to help pet owners protect their pets while keeping themselves and their families safe.
Veterinary Visits: In general, all routine and elective procedures may be postponed for some time without significant detrimental effects to your pets’ health. Any acute injury or illness should be seen. When in doubt, call your veterinarian for advice on whether or not to bring your pet in.
Vaccinations: Most immunity from prior vaccinations last longer than the labelled duration of the vaccine, so if slightly overdue, it tends to not increase risk for your pet getting sick. With that being said, if your pet is due for routine vaccines or tests in the near future, you may want to schedule ASAP to avoid potential problems if a quarantine is implemented.
Medications: If your pet is on regular medication, we advise making sure you have a month or two of medication and/or prescription foods on hand. We do not advise stockpiling more than this as this could contribute to shortages.
Interacting with Your Pet: It is important to stress that there is no evidence that pets will get sick from COVID-19 or actively harbor/transmit the disease. However, pets may act as a “fomite”. Meaning they can passively transmit disease similar to an inanimate object. For example, a sick person pets or coughs on pet, then another person picks up the pet. Confirmed infected and/or people with symptoms should limit contact with their pets for this reason.
Quarantine: Pet owners should also look into options for their pet if they need to go out of town and get quarantined while away from their pet, or need to self-quarantine at home. When choosing a caretaker for your pet choose someone the pet is comfortable with, such as family members, close friends.
Now, more than ever, it’s a good to have an emergency kit on hand for your pet. The kit should include important numbers and addresses for your vet, emergency vet, and poison control hotline, as well as copies of your pet’s important paperwork including medical records and vaccinations. For a complete list of what every basic pet first aid kit should contain visit our article on Pet First-Aid Kit Essentials.