The ISPCA would like to reassure the public that there is no evidence that pets such as dogs or cats can catch or spread the coronavirus. This is also the position of the HSE.
ISPCA CEO Dr Andrew Kelly said: “It is important for pet owners to understand the facts and what Covid-19 really means for you and your pets. Expert authorities on public health and veterinary medicine including the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) and the Veterinary Council of Ireland emphasize that there is currently no evidence that pets can transmit the Covid-19 virus to humans.
Andrew added: “A recent news article about a dog belonging to a Covid-19 patient in Hong Kong has resulted in some misleading stories that pets may be susceptible to the coronavirus. Authorities in Hong Kong believe it is likely to be a case of human to animal transmission but stress that it is not cause for alarm, as there is no indication that animals can spread the virus, i.e. being infected does not necessarily mean being infectious.
"Furthermore, the dog never showed any signs of illness. While there are coronaviruses specific to dogs and cats, it’s important to remember that they cannot affect humans. Human-to-human transmission is the main route of transmission for Covid-19, especially through cough or sneeze droplets. It is advised therefore to avoid close contact with people exhibiting fever and coughing, to wash hands regularly, and to wear a face mask if coughing.”
It is important pet owners have sufficient pet food, prescribed medication and supplies to provide adequate care for your pet in the event that you are self-isolating. If your pet becomes ill during this time, a vet should be contacted for advice and treatment. It is sensible to make plans in case you are ill, so that if needed, there is someone who can care for your pet.
As the virus can survive in the environment for at least a few days, good hygiene measures should be applied when interacting with your pet as well. Avoid kissing your pet and wash your hands frequently in line with guidance from health authorities.
We would like to remind pet owners to comply with HSE advice around hygiene.
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