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Coronavirus- Is my pet at risk?

UPDATE: 3/2/2020

Professional pet care in South Tampa FLThe global outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus is continuing to spread. You already know that, as you can’t watch the news or check your news feed without every third word being Coronavirus. Yes, we need to take this seriously- but understand that the risk to you AND your pets is still extremely small.

It has been reported that a dog in Hong Kong has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. What you may not have heard is that the dog is actually the pet of a person who has been infected with the virus. The owner was quarantined, and was shedding the virus in her home environment, so a weak positive from the pet was not surprising. Incidentally, the 17 year-old Pomeranian has since passed away. The pet’s death is not related to the virus, but was due to it’s age and other underlying medical conditions. The average lifespan for most Pomeranians is between 13-16 years. For more on this, here’s the full story on the pet’s death.

Some folks have asked me if they need to buy masks for their pets. My answer is no. It’s great that people are taking this seriously, but the Surgeon General is telling us that masks are not needed for the healthy population. Only those who have been diagnosed with the virus should wear masks- so getting a mask for your healthy pet is not necessary.

Isn’t there a Coronavirus vaccine for pets?

For many years, veterinarians would vaccinate dogs against a form of intestinal Coronavirus. The Coronavirus vaccine was often included with a combination vaccine like the DHLPP. which protects dogs against Distemper, Parvo and other highly contagious diseases. Although the vaccine is still available, it is not often given due to the very low incidence of the disease. This vaccine is given to prevent intestinal Coronavirus– and is not the same as the respiratory Coronavirus that is causing alarm in the medical community. Giving your pet this vaccine will not protect them from a respiratory Coronavirus like COVID-19- and again, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can infect your pet at this time.

To learn more about intestinal Coronavirus visit our article on our website here: Coronavirus

The COVID-19 Coronavirus that is now making headlines is genetically related to the virus just mentioned- but is far from the same thing. It has been assumed that the virus originated from an open market in Wuhan, China where both meats and live animals were sold (in questionable conditions, reportedly). This virus is zoonotic, which means it can be passed from animals to humans. This is a respiratory virus– and at this time, the Centers for Disease Control says that there is little to no risk to pets here in the United States. For the most recent FAQ’s from the CDC (as of this post) follow this link:CDC Website

While there is a Canine Respiratory Coronavirus, it is only genetically related to the virus that has killed dozens of people and sickened hundreds in China and around the globe. There is no vaccine at this time for Canine Respiratory Coronavirus.

Bottom line- at this time- there is very little  cause for concern for your pets. That being said- this is a virus that has mutated and has not been seen before. As is the case in our times, viruses are continuing to mutate- which means we will continue to monitor this situation closely and will update you as necessary.