Companion Animals & COVID-19 Transmission

Part of the Crisis Care for Companion Animals Series

by Muriel Lumb, Animal Advocacy

Pets bring vital energy to our homes and lives. Pets communicate many messages about love and connection. Care tenderly for all pets throughout their precious lives. The interspecies dance of love softens and expands the heart.
Laura Staley

In this article, we want to reassure companion guardians about any worries they may have about COVID-19 and their friends. To this end, we briefly summarise reliable information on companion animals and COVID-19 transmission. Rather than go into detail here, we’ve given you links to sources who can explain everything much better than us!

We’ve also included a summary of what to do if you need to visit your vet during lockdown and the easing of restrictions.

Finally, our link list of resources is included to help you find out more about the issues that interest you.

The current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human to human transmission. To date, there is no evidence that companion animals play a significant role in spreading the disease. Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare.

By far, the most useful detailed (and readable!) information I’ve found has been from UCD School of Veterinary Medicine, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) & the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health):

Here’s the links to all the CDC’s information on Pets & Animals, followed by the Key Points they highlight:

Key Points

  • CDC is aware of a small number of pets worldwide, including cats and dogs, reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19.
  • Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.
  • It appears that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals in some situations.
  • Treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people or animals outside the household. If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets.
  • This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.

Visiting Your Vet

FECAVA COVID-19 Advice for Pet owners

Crisis Care for Companion Animals Series

This is one in a series of articles highlighting animal welfare concerns during the crisis.

There is already a host of information online regarding animals, not just our companions, and COVID-19. But very little of it is Ireland specific.

Rather than repeating information needlessly, my intention is to translate some of the international information into an Irish context, and I’ve included links to more detailed information where appropriate. The Series will include:

Find Out More

Although this is an American site, there is currently no Irish equivalent with this amount of information. Most is translatable to Ireland, and much of it will be of use to Irish rescues, so do check it out:

May 15, 2020: The ASPCA is regularly updating resources in this hub to support you and your important work for animals. Read our newest content, including:

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