As people across the globe are taking necessary precautionary measures to safeguard themselves from the deadly coronavirus, there is little known about what ought to be done to ensure the well-being of our four-legged furry friends.
The current body of knowledge about the disease indicates that dogs and cats do not seem to act as vectors for the coronavirus.
The New York Post has, however, listed a few guidelines for pet owners, who wish to keep their faithful companions safe and sound.
Firstly, according to a pamphlet published by New York State Veterinary Medical Society, the people who are already infected with the bug must “restrict contact with any animals just like you would around other people.”
The responsibility of caring for an affected person’s pet should be handed over to a healthy family member, but if that is not possible, the infected owner must wear a face mask and thoroughly wash their hands before walking, feeding or interacting with the animal.
Dogs and cats are not known to be the carrier of the disease. Yet they can transmit the pathogen through their surfaces, for instance, their fur.
“So, if somebody who has [the coronavirus] is coughing on their hand and then petting their dog, there is the possibility of transmission, but I think it’s a very low likelihood … we don’t know enough,” West Village Veterinary Hospital’s Dr Daniel Smith told the New York Post.
Therefore, in order to avoid unknowingly spreading the coronavirus, it is always a good idea to wash or sanitise your hands when touching your pet.
The ones who suspect that their pets are probably infected should reach out to their vets, however, this step must be taken with due patience.
“There’s a lot that’s not completely known. The vet community right now is still trying to figure out how to interact with the situation — give your vet the benefit of the doubt,” Smith informed.
In the face of an emergency, the animal owners must be well prepared and ready with an action plan to ensure safety.
“A pet’s first line of defence is a well-prepared owner, and we strongly encourage pet owners to take the necessary precautions and incorporate pets into their preparedness plans to keep their family — including their pets — healthy,” said Dr Stephanie Janeczko, from ASPCA Shelter Medicine Services in a statement.
The ASPCA recommends that the owners should device “emergency kits” which contain a 30 day stock of their’s pet’s medicines along with two weeks supply of pet food and other essential supplies.
Furthermore, all the animals should be attached with collars that have the pet’s name, contact details and medical requirements written on them.
Last but not the least, pet owners must pre-determine a friend, family member or boarding facility which could be entrusted with taking care of their animal in case they are taken down by the infection.