COVID-19: Can my companion animal get it?

COVID-19: Can my companion animal get it?

According to current knowledge, the risk of your animal contracting the coronavirus appears very small, however it’s important to be careful.

March 23, 2020

The latest information pertaining to COVID-19 has been making frontline news for several weeks now but our lack of understanding of this new virus is the root of wide-ranging questions. Many companion animal owners are not only concerned about how to keep themselves safe but also what measures are necessary to protect their animals. Rest assured: according the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) “everything seems to indicate that the virus transmits from person to person during close contact and there has been no evidence of the virus being present in animal populations.” Nevertheless, as the scientific literature on COVID-19 is limited, it’s best to proceed with caution.

Case in point: your animal’s fur may be considered a “surface”—like a table or your hands—which can act as a vector to carry the virus. Should an infected person touch your animal, the virus may spread to an uninfected person via your pet’s fur. Which means that it’s very important that your animal not encounter other people.

Those infected with COVID-19, or at high-risk of being infected, must exercise extreme caution by:

  • Avoiding contact with animals (their own and those belonging to other people)
  • Strictly following the hygiene measures laid out by the government
  • Advising all other people who look after or come into contact with their animals to use rigorous measures of hygiene
  • Adopting additional measures of hygiene, as necessary

In case of incapacitation due to the coronavirus, or any other illness, pet owners should prepare an emergency plan for the care of their animals.

Should you have questions or need clarifications, contact your veterinarian. To get more information visit MAPAQ or Infection Prevention and Control Canada.

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