What to Know if You Are Worried About COVID-19 and Your Cat or Dog

Cats, Dogs, Infectious Diseases

This is an unusual time to live. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing direct impact on almost everyone’s lives. Even within the medical community, there is a large amount of uncertainty, because we are learning new things about this virus every day. Uncertainty can lead to misinformation. Misinformation can quickly give rise to fear.

COVID-19 and Cats and Dogs

Many pet owners have been expressing fears that their pet may get COVID-19. I will explain what the medical community knows about the risks this virus presents to our furry companions, and hopefully will alleviate some fears.

Don’t Worry About Your Dog

The COVID-19 virus has been found in a few dogs outside the United States. None of the dogs in which the virus was isolated were showing clinical signs of disease. It looks like they may have caught it from their owners. But, it is not currently believed that dogs act as a significant carrier of the virus since the virus does not seem to replicate well in the dog. This means that it is very unlikely for a dog to get infected and spread the virus to other animals or people.

Cats May Be Susceptible to the Virus

COVID-19 has also been found in cats, and it seems they are more susceptible than dogs. Unlike with canines, the virus seems to be able to replicate in their bodies. This means that if you are infected it is possible for you to transmit the disease to your cat.

Keeping Cats Safe From COVID-19

If you are sick with COVID-19, we recommend you take some preventative measures with your cat. Try to avoid cuddling or kissing the animal, and make sure to wash your hands before feeding or giving it medication. If there is someone else in the house that is not currently sick then they should take over animal care responsibilities while you maintain distance from the cat.

If Your Cat Does Get the Virus

If your cat does get exposed to the virus, it is probable they will show mild symptoms of a cold. Or, no symptoms at all. If your cat is showing signs similar to a cold then do not panic. As long as they are eating and drinking then continue to actively monitor them at home.

Your cat might not drink as much water if it is sick. Feeding your cat a wet food diet is an easy way to keep it hydrated. If your cat’s breathing seems labored, or if the cat is not eating, then bring the patient in for a limited contact examination. Unless you or a family member was infected with COVID-19, it is more likely your cat has a common cold than the virus.

Stay Tuned For More Updates About Your Animal’s Health

We will continue to learn more about the significance of COVID-19 in companion animals as time goes on. The most important method of transmission currently is human-to-human contact. So, the best way to protect your pets is by protecting yourself Maintain social distance and follow the CDC guidelines. You can proactively safeguard yourself and your pets.

– Dr. Ryan Beizavi, DVM

Essex Middle River Veterinary Center provides medical and surgical care for cats and dogs at our animal hospital and veterinary clinic in Essex, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. Our services include preventive wellness care exams, vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care. Our state-of-the-art veterinary offices are conveniently located near I-695 where we see pets from Towson, Honeygo, White Marsh, and other neighboring Baltimore areas.

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