The news has been saturated with scary stories about the Coronavirus sweeping around the world, and while there are rapid developments in available information, we thought it important to address some concerns we are hearing at the BVC.
We strongly recommend relying on information from trusted sources and we are following human health care leaders and relying heavily on the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association) advisory documents and information releases. – “The New Coronavirus and Companion Animals—Advice for WSAVA Members.” – and the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)and the AVA in Australia.
All information sources stress that there is NO evidence that companion pets can be infected with Coronavirus OR be a source of infection for us.
There are still a lot of unknowns, but what we do know is that Coronavirus seems to have emerged from an animal source and is now spreading between people.
We do not know if Coronavirus is going to affect our pets. There have been reports of ONE “weakly positive” test result in a Pomeranian in Hong Kong but the AFCD (Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department) report that the dog is showing NO relevant clinical signs. They are currently conducting further testing to confirm if this is an actual infection or, as they suspect, “environmental contamination of the dog’s mouth and nose”.
What Can We Do?
The most effective strategy at the present time to prevent the spread of (any) virus is to wash your hands thoroughly and often.
Here in Australia our biggest threat seems to be “The Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020”. Whilst it is not necessary to go to these extremes, it is a good idea to maintain some additional stocks of medicines and pet foods – particularly if they are special diets. We do not know at this stage if later impacts may affect the supply chains and prevent movement of needed ingredients.
The CDC (USA) suggests that if you ARE ill with Coronavirus you should restrict contact with your pets. Whilst there are NO reports of pets becoming ill with Coronavirus it is best to limit contact until we know more.
Finally, the greatest impact of Coronavirus within Australia seems to be an increase in fear and anxiety. This is where your pets are therapeutic. Spend time with your pets – patting and stroking has been shown to reduce stress. Get out and enjoy your regular dog walk. Let your pets make you feel better. After all, that’s a health benefit we can all enjoy every day.