Los Angeles, CA–Yesterday, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) announced the first confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection in a German Shepherd in New York state. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) urges people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to quarantine from all family members, including family pets.
According to the USDA, SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in a small number of animals worldwide, mostly in animals that had close contact with a person who was sick with COVID-19. The USDA is maintaining a chart of confirmed COVID-19 cases in animals in the U.S.
While there is currently no evidence that animals play a role in the spread of the virus, spcaLA offers the following to pet parents:
Guidance for Pet Owners
• Maintain good hygiene practices by washing hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching pets, in keeping with CDC guidelines.
• Do not allow your dogs to play with other dogs or meet people during daily walks. Keep a six-foot distance between your dog and others, just as you would with other people.
• Curb your dog’s interest in sniffing excrement of other animals, or picking up refuse on the ground.
• Before you come inside from a walk, wipe your dog’s paws with a sudsy solution of pet shampoo and water. When finished, discard the wipe and thoroughly rinse your pet’s paws with water to remove soap residue. If you have them available, you may consider having your dog wear shoes, socks, or booties outdoors.
• Keep your cats and other pets safely indoors. If you are unable to confine your cat, follow the wipe down procedures indicated above.
• Do not use Lysol wipes, bleach, or other harsh chemicals on your pets. Ask your veterinarian for additional safe options to clean your pet’s paws.
spcaLA continues to monitor the situation, and will update protocols with any new information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Furthermore, the public is encouraged to stay informed by following these organizations’ websites: World Health Organization, American Veterinary Medical Association, World Organization for Animal Health, and the USDA.