What pet owners should know

Are your pets at risk? Can they get the coronavirus or spread it? Nearly ⅔ of Americans own pets. The North American Veterinary Community (NAVC), the world’s leading provider of continuing education for veterinary professionals, shares the following information regarding pets and the coronavirus.

“Viruses are usually unique to each species and it is unusual for a virus to jump between species. It’s very unlikely that household pets like dogs or cats will transmit this coronavirus to people and there is no evidence at this point that dogs or cats will become ill from this disease,” said Dr. Dana Varble, NAVC Chief Veterinary Officer. “There is no cause for alarm, but it is smart to skip the face kisses for now and wash your hands and face regularly after being with pets. Always include your pets in your emergency preparedness plans.”

  • There are many different coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS, but there is currently no evidence that dogs or cats are at risk of developing the COVID-19 illness from SARS-CoV-2 or that they can spread it to humans.
  • Since other infectious diseases can spread between animals and humans, it is prudent to always exercise good hygiene when people, especially children, are around animals. This includes washing your hands after touching, feeding or cleaning up after your pet.
  • Prepare your pets, just as you prepare your family, for an emergency. This includes stocking up on a 14 -day supply of food, medications (don’t forget subscription medications), litter and other supplies. (The CDC offers additional information on their website.
  • Make sure your pets’ medical records and shots are up to date in the event you cannot care for them and need to board your pet.
  • As always, if your pet appears to be sick, seek the advice of your veterinarian.

About Dr. Dana Varble

Dana Varble has practiced clinical medicine in exotic pet, small animal general practice and emergency medicine and continues to serve as an associate veterinarian on a limited basis for Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital in Skokie Illinois and as a relief veterinarian for emergency services.

She has spoken locally, nationally, and internationally at conferences and seminars on herpetological and exotic animal medicine and surgery and has written several publications in the same field. She joined the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV) in 2003, served on the board of directors from 2008 to 2014, and was the president of ARAV from 2012 to 2013. She is also a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians. In January 2015, she joined NAVC as the Executive Director of ARAV and progressed to the Senior Director of Hands-On workshops in October 2017. In October 2018 she was promoted to Vice President of Veterinary Education and in January 2020 she was promoted to Chief Veterinary Officer. She shares her home with a mixed-up brown dog named Hannah and four ball pythons, Phil, Jake, Hickok, and Saffron.

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