Keeping you and your family healthy during this corona virus COVID-19 pandemic is utmost in our minds these days. There are many ways our pets can help us stay a little healthier. As our routines are upended, the presence of our beloved pets can help alleviate the stress we feel as we face this unprecedented challenge. Taking your dog for a walk or grooming your cat can relax both you and your pets. Remember that our pets are sensitive to our moods and will be looking for a little reassurance. We luckily do not have to worry about our pets becoming sick from the virus. There is one report from Hong Kong in which a 17-year-old Pomeranian tested “weak positive” to a part of this novel corona virus. The dog did pass away but no necropsy was done to confirm a cause of death. The virus does not transfer well from the fibrous hair coat of animals so they are not considered contagious. The virus is much more easily picked up from hard plastic or metal surfaces. If your animal has been in contact with a COVID-19 positive person you should disinfectant plastic or metal surfaces on or around your animal, such as collars, harnesses or cat carriers.
Access to our pet’s health care is affected by this pandemic. Continuing to provide excellent care is the primary goal of veterinary hospitals but this care is taking an evolving shape. In an effort to protect the staff in our hospitals, we need to limit direct contact with people. Within the relatively confined spaces of the veterinary hospital, your animals are welcome but safe contact with you is best done over the phone!
Most hospitals are instituting drive-by service where the pet’s information and history is given over the phone to the receptionist when the appointment is made. On your arrival your pet will be brought into the hospital by a veterinary technician. The doctor will examine your pet and discuss diagnosis and treatment options on the phone. The technician will then return your pet to you in your car.
Sick pets take priority. Elective procedures or routine appointments may be best rescheduled. Surgical procedures could be impacted if the shortage of surgical masks and gloves becomes more acute. The COVID-19 corona virus does not affect horses and cows. Veterinarians work with these animals on the farm and can more easily maintain safe distance from people. Contact your veterinarian regarding specific procedures as things are changing by the day.
There is no need for social distancing from our pets. Feel free to give them as many hugs, throw them as many balls, and take as many naps with them as you like. They will love you for it!