Like just about everyone else in the world, the Wag Tantrum team has been watching the unfolding COVID-19 situation with dismay. It’s hard to find the silver lining in much that has transpired, but particularly troubling to our team have been the reports of pets and animals infected with this novel corona virus.
From Hong Kong dogs to New York house cats, reports of infected animals are surfacing. These are especially troubling when they are about our own beloved pets.
The Wag Tantrum team wanted to get the facts. As part of our research, we consulted with Dr. Mike Huddleston, DVM and owner of Westheimer Animal Clinic Bellaire, Bellaire, TX. Doc is a well respected Houston-area vet who has made a name for himself by performing life-saving surgeries on injured, abandoned dogs and cats. Once they are healthy again, Mike’s non-profit, Sav-A-Pet, finds great homes for these rehabilitated pets. In fact, the Wag Tantrum team includes several alumni of Sav-A-Pet!
Scientific evidence suggests that this new form of coronavirus, technically known as SARS-CoV-2, originated in bats and developed the ability to infect humans. Once a virus mutates in this way and “spils over” into a new species (in this case, humans), it generally tends to stay there. That is, it becomes a virus that infects humans rather than other animals. While back-and-forth transmission between humans and other animals is possible, our best scientific understanding at this time suggests this is unlikely.
Currently there is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is being transmitted between people and pets, or from pet-to-pet. There are no reports of a person becoming ill with COVID-19 from a dog (or cat). However, dealing with emerging viruses is always difficult because we cannot predict all of their behaviors accurately. We need to be realistic about what we do and don’t yet know.
In the case of the Hong Kong dog, the theory is that POTENTIALLY a sick person sneezed or coughed, the dog licked up these droplets and then licked someone else. In this way, the dog would not have to be sick, but it would act as a vector, carrying the virus from a sick person to a well person. As far as we can tell, this is a very, very, unlikely occurrence, but it could happen.
The two New York cats that tested positive are firsts in the United States. Both are expected to make a full recovery and there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus. According to Dr. Huddleston, “The CDC recommends keeping cats and dogs indoors and preventing them from interacting with people and other animals out side the household.” Huddleston went on to add, “People who test positive for the virus should restrict contact with their pets and wear a facemask during necessary interaction. Most pets never show symptoms of the virus that we know about.”
This last piece is crucial. We’re all still learning about this new virus, but one thing is clear. When it comes to our pets, we need to continue using common sense. We should take care of them as best we can and if we get sick with COVID-19, we should exercise appropriate cautions. NEVER consider abandoning your pet. If you feel you can no longer love and care for them, contact your veterinarian or local animal rescue operation for advice on the best course of action.
We encourage you to enjoy this unprecedented time with your precious pets! The Wag Tantrum team is LOVING extra walks with mom and cooking Wag Tantrum at home is an added bonus since we always need extra assistance with Quality Control!
The Wag Tantrum kitties have also adjusted well to the new schedule. They love curling up next to mom on the couch for the next installment of Young and Restless!
Hopefully, this accurate update is helpful to all pet owners and friends of pet owners. Please let us know if you have additional questions or need more information. We’re happy to try and point you in the right direction.
In the meantime, stay healthy!