Covid-19 and your pets

Can my pet get coronavirus?
There have been dog and cat coronaviruses around for a long time but there is NO evidence of a single case of a pet dog or cat infecting a human with Covid-19. It has been suggested that cats could be susceptible to infection FROM humans by inhaling virus particles suspended in the air after an infected human has coughed or sneezed. However, there is no evidence of a pet becoming ill from Covid-19 or of a pet infecting a human-being.

This just affects humans. Until more is known it’s sensible to be careful and maintain hygiene standards around our pets as well as humans by including no kissing, and careful hand washing before and after any contact.

Is my hand sanitising gel going to poison my dog?!
No, this is false information shared on social media. Many hand gels contain alcohol, but not Ethylene Glycol as the posts claim. Alcohol isn’t great for your pet if a whole bottle of gel is consumed, but generally the alcohol evaporates quickly and isn’t dangerous if licked off your hands, or their fur when they groom themselves after you’ve touched them.

Washing our hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the best way to keep clean, but if that option isn’t available when you need it please don’t let this false story stop you using gel.

My cat goes out and will be going across other people’s property. Should I keep him/her in?
Just like our hands, it’s possible for pet fur to carry the virus from person to person. Unless your cat is very friendly, the chances of them being fussed by a neighbour are small, and the chances of that person being infected even less. However, the British Veterinary Association advises that if you have symptoms of Covid-19, or are self isolating then it would be a good idea to try and keep your cat indoors if this is possible to help reduce any possible risk to other people. It makes good sense to practice good hand hygiene around your pet regardless.

My puppy/kitten hasn’t finished their initial vaccinations. What shall I do?!
Puppies and Kittens are now eligible to be vaccinated as per RCVS guidelines – contact your vet to arrange an appointment. If there is a delay, we advise that you keep them in your property and not let them mix with potentially unvaccinated animals until it’s safe for us and your family to see them.

What if my pet's booster or six-monthly health check is due during the lockdown?Is there likely to be an outbreak of parvo virus after this?

Vets have unfortunately had to postpone all non-urgent, routine appointments (as per the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons guidance). However, vaccine companies have advised that is safe to delay vaccination for 3 months after the due date in adults. Therefore, most vets are currently offering vaccinations for dogs, cats and rabbits who are 3 months (or more) overdue to prevent the build up of disease in the population, but delaying vaccines by 3 months for those currently due. If you aren’t sure if your pet needs a vaccine, it’s best to check with your vet and they can advise you.

My pet is on long term medication but I’m due a check-up - should I come in?
Under the current circumstances, vets are often able to provide some leeway on chronic condition check-ups in the short term and prescribing medications up to three months at a time. If your pet is due a check-up, they may suggest this via video consult if it is appropriate, otherwise they may advise that your pet does need to come depending on how long it has been since they were last seen, and what the problem is.

For example, we can assess things such as chronic skin conditions over a video consult, while conditions such as blood pressure monitoring will still require a visit to the practice. If your pet is due a check-up, it is best to contact your vet and we can advise on each case individually.

What should I do about exercising my dog if I’m sick? If you are self-isolating due to illness, then it’s best to restrict close contact with your pet. Exercise your dog in your garden if you have one, or just outside your house to toilet. Keep your distance from other people, clean any mess and make sure no one touches your dog just in case the virus is on their fur.

It’s a good idea to set up a back-up plan now in case you’re unable to look after your pet for a while. Consider asking a family member, friend or neighbour if they would be willing to help for a while.

We hope you find this information of use and that you and your pets stay well.

Hawthorne Veterinary Surgeries
Hawthorn House
High Street, Henfield BN5 9DA
Tel: 01273 495227
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