Catasauqua Press

Monday, July 6, 2020

Care for pets during COVID-19 pandemic

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 by Carole Gorney Special to The Press in Local News

As a pet owner, I have wondered about any risks to my cat Moxie getting the coronavirus from me, or vice versa. I was relieved to find some of the answers on the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) website.

To begin with, the site said nonporous surfaces, such as countertops and doorknobs, transmit viruses better than porous materials, such as pet fur. That’s because porous, especially fibrous, materials absorb and traps the virus. That makes it harder to contract by simply touching.

The AVMA previously said there is no evidence to indicate the communicability of COVID-19 with animals, but a tiger at the Bronx Zoo was confirmed to have the virus April 5.

United States Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratories has confirmed the virus in one tiger at the New York zoo. This is the first instance of a tiger being infected with COVID-19.

Several lions and tigers at the zoo showed signs of respiratory illness, and this tiger was tested accordingly.

Public health employees believe the large cats became ill after being exposed to a zoo employee who was actively shedding the virus. All of the large cats are expected to recover.

No other animals in the zoo are exhibiting similar signs. USDA and Centers for Disease Control are monitoring this situation, and the World Organisation for Animal Health will be notified of the finding.

There have been no reports of pets or livestock becoming ill with COVID-19 in the United States. At this point in time, there is also no evidence that domestic animals, including pets and livestock, can spread COVID-19 to people.

The AVMA website recommended the following precautions:

• If you are not ill with COVID-19, you can interact with your pet as you normally would, including walking, feeding and playing. You should continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions, such as washing your hands before and after interacting with your pet, ensuring your pet is kept well-groomed and regularly cleaning your pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material and toys.

• Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended those who are ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. Have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding and playing with your pet. If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, wear a face mask, don’t share food, kiss or hug them and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.