The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported cases of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, in pet cats and dogs around the United States. There are reports of large cats testing positive for COVID after showing signs of respiratory illness. The CDC is conducting active surveillance of COVID-positive pets alongside the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and state public health agencies.
(Here’s the list of all confirmed animal SARS-CoV-2 infections, maintained by the USDA.)
And now, a sliver of good news: It does not appear as though humans can catch COVID from animals. This does nothing to protect our pets, though. Pets can catch COVID from us, and they have. They can also spread the virus to other animals.
Testing Your Pets
The CDC and USDA recommend that your pet should immediately be tested for the SARS-CoV-2 infection if any of the following is true:
- The pet has a history of contact with a human or animal that either has or might have COVID;
- The pet is experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID, including overbearing laziness, vomiting, diarrhea, nasal/ocular discharge, difficulty breathing, coughing, sneezing or fever;
- The pet has been exposed to an area that is known to be at a high risk for COVID, including an infected person’s residence, cruise ship, prison, medical facility or nursing home;
- The pet has been in a mass care environment such as an animal shelter or other animal holding facility; or
- The pet has been around wild animals or livestock with an unknown history of exposure to COVID.
Keep in mind that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be asymptomatic. Do not wait on symptoms to show themselves if any of the above conditions are true.
If you become aware or you suspect that your pet has been exposed to COVID, take the animal to your local animal health professional. Your veterinarian is trained to rule out all causes outside of COVID before making a diagnosis and further recommendations.
Should your pet be diagnosed with COVID or the virus that causes it, your animal health professional may be required to call a state public health veterinarian. With jurisdictions that do not have state public health officials available, your vet will be able to direct you further.
If you know you have COVID, you should practice social distancing from your pet in the same way that you distance yourself from humans (use a 6 foot separation as your benchmark). Designate a single individual to care for the pets. Follow a strict routine of handwashing and disinfecting before handling any pet food or letterbox.
As sad as this sounds, you should also refrain from cuddling or kissing your pets.
Service animals may remain with their handlers under the auspices of the American with Disabilities Act. However, strict precautions should be maintained to ensure the health of both master and pet.
If a pet is to be tested for COVID, call ahead to the veterinary office. They will need time to prepare. If at all possible, have an uninfected person drive the pet to the vet’s office and stay with it. Telemedicine is now also a viable option for many families without the ability to find an alternative caretaker.
If the animal’s home is determined to be unsafe, that pet may need to be temporarily re-housed. In some areas, there are pet shelters that have been trained to maintain a sterile environment while caring for pets until the pandemic passes.
Caring for Your Pet
If you are thinking that all of these extra precautions and tests will quickly add up, you are right. Whether you believe your family has been hit by COVID or not, there is no better time than now to prepare. Spot Pet Insurance should be your first step in protecting your pet against the possibility of expensive health care.
Spot Pet Insurance has a variety of options available for all budgets and preferences. Choose from deductible, annual limit and premium plans. Customize your coverage to fit the needs of your family during the pandemic, and modify those terms later when things move more close to something normal.
Spot allows you to take your pet to the vet that you like, and coverage includes emergency clinic and specialist visits. You submit bills through the website and get your reimbursement digitally — no waiting lines or bureaucracy required. Imagine how much better you will feel knowing that you have up to 90% of your pet bills covered no matter what kind of treatment it needs.
There is nothing better than knowing you have everything covered in any situation. Spot Health Insurance not only protects your pet, but your entire family as well. Your pet is depending on you. Get your free quote from the Spot Health Insurance website right now.
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