COVID-19 and Pets

News this weekend that a tiger in the big cat group belonging to the Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19 has concerned many about our own cats at home possibly becoming sick.  We know that there is a small possibility that house cats (and ferrets) can become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 in people – when directly exposed to a sick person.  So far, there has been one isolated case found in a cat in Europe and none in domesticated cats here in the USA. One of the largest labs in the country is testing samples from pet cats that come into their facility and have yet to diagnose any cases which is encouraging!  While we all know this situation is new and rapidly changing you can be sure all of us veterinarians at BHPH are constantly reviewing the scientific information to be sure we can provide the best possible advice to you and your family. Right now, the advice remains the same as the CDC guidelines: if someone in your home is sick with COVID-19 they should wash their hands frequently and when possible have someone else feed and care for pets in the home. At this time there is no evidence that dogs can be infected, and cats (including our beloved big cats at the zoo!) are all recovering. We do know that dogs can carry the virus on their fur (being a fomite) but good hand washing and wiping your pet off with a damp cloth reduces that risk. It’s also always good to remind people to ask before petting your dog and it’s ok to say no. Remember, these cases are very few and far between and show the small possibility of the virus infecting a cat from a sick person, there is no evidence of cats spreading the virus back to humans.  Staying safe and healthy yourself is the best thing you can do for your pets

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