Local vet says pet owners should take steps to protect animals amid COVID-19 outbreak

Coronavirus

Dr. Brooks says it's possible for your pet to catch COVID-19 and have some of the same symptoms as humans

Coronavirus, COVID-19 vaccine testing

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SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – We all want to protect our pets and make sure they’re happy and healthy. But with COVID-19 affecting humans, it’s possible it could also affect our furry friends with some of the same symptoms.

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“They seem to be lethargic, somewhat depressed — meaning that they just don’t want to get up and move around, they don’t really want to respond to you,” said Dr. Vickey Brooks, with Adamson Veterinary Services in Salem. “They just don’t want to get up and move around because they feel pretty crummy.”

She said ferrets, dogs, cats and pigs are among the animals that could catch the virus. Ferrets have the highest risk of getting sick.

Brooks said a laboratory is working on how to administer a test for animals, like a respiratory swab.

“The respiratory swab could be something that would be in the back of the throat, way back there. They would be nasal swabs.”

If you have COVID-19, you’re going to want to stay away from your pet as much as possible. Brooks recommends having another family member take care of them. If that’s not possible, wear protective gear around them and have as little contact as possible.

“Treat your animals just like another person,” Brooks said. “You want to self-isolate away from them. You don’t want to interact with them at all.”

The good news is pets cannot transfer the virus to you.
And if your pet is sick…

“If it’s got a fever and the fever is low, we leave that alone and let it resolve itself on its own,” Brooks said. “We make sure the pet eats and drinks.”

Only in severe cases, an animal may need advanced care.

If neither you nor your pet are showing any symptoms, Brooks said you shouldn’t be tested for the virus.

The USDA said it’s still unclear how the virus spreads, though in the case of a tiger at the Bronx Zoo, it appears a zookeeper spread the virus to the animal. The USDA recommends sick people avoid contact with pets.

There are no confirmed cases in pets at this point.

For more information, go to www.avma.org.

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