COVID19 Information 

This page will be updated as and when we learn more about COVID19

Updated: Monday April 6th, 2020

 

Current knowledge of COVID-19:

 

  • It is a type of coronavirus.

  • Imagine coronavirus is like a make of car, and COVID19 (SARS-CoV-2) is a new model that’s just been brought out, with new features. 

  • COVID19 is the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.

  • Transmission primarily occurs by person-to-person spread, when there is contact with an infected person's bodily secretions, such as saliva or mucus droplets in a cough or sneeze. 

  • People are thought to be the most contagious when they are most symptomatic, however spread may be possible before people show symptoms.

  • Transmission via touching a contaminated surface or object (we call this a fomite) and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes is possible.

  • Smooth surfaces (e.g., countertops, door knobs) transmit viruses better than paper money and pet fur, because fibrous materials like pet hair, absorb and trap the pathogen (virus), making it harder to contract through a simple touch. 

  • At this time, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread to people from the skin or fur of pets.

  • There are currently no antiviral drugs recommended or licensed to treat COVID-19, and there is no immunisation (vaccination) available.

  • The best way to avoid becoming ill is to avoid exposure to the virus. Taking typical preventive action is key (social distancing, self-isolation if you have signs, hand washing, disinfecting all shopping, wearing PPE if you are in contact with the public)

  • Facemasks seem to be optional. Personally, we would advise wearing them. 

 

 

SARS-CoV-2 in Animals

 

  • Two dogs in Hong Kong, and two cats (one in Belgium and one in Hong Kong) living with people diagnosed with COVID-19 have been reported to have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, however other dogs and cats also living with infected people remain uninfected. 

  • New research has been posted recently, to that suggest some domestic animals can be experimentally infected with SARS-CoV-2, and may transmit the virus to other animals in an experimental setting, or mount a viral-specific immune response when exposed to SARS-CoV-2. 

  • However, these are experimental conditions, and not real life. We know that experimental conditionals frequently do not reflect what actually happens when the virus is in a normal home and community environment.

  • To date there are no received reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19. Emergency vets all over the world are treating animals which will have been in contact with humans suffering from COVID19, and we have had no reports of COVID19 signs in them. 

  • There is no evidence at this point to indicate that, under natural conditions, pets spread COVID-19 to people.

 

Tigers in New York

 

  • SARS-CoV-2 has been found in one tiger at a zoo in New York. Several lions and tigers at the zoo showed clinical signs of respiratory illness and this tiger was tested accordingly. 

  • It is believed that the large cats became ill after being exposed to a zoo employee who was actively shedding virus. 

  • All of the large cats are expected to recover. 

  • No other animas in other areas of the zoo are exhibiting similar clinical signs. 

  • There are no reports of humans becoming infected from the tiger.

 

 

What should you do?

 

  • If you are not ill with COVID-19, you can interact with your animals as you normally would, including feeding and otherwise caring for them. 

  • You should continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions (e.g. wash hands before and after interacting with your animals, including handling of food, supplies, and waste; keep feed, water, and any supplies used to deliver them clean; remove soiled bedding and replace as appropriate).

  • To be cautious, and until we know more, if you are ill with COVID-19, you should restrict your contact with your pets and other animals, just as you would restrict your contact with other people. 

  • When possible, have another member of your household or business take care of feeding and otherwise caring for any animals, including pets. 

  • If you have a service animal, or you must care for your own pets; we would advise wearing a cloth facemask; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.

©chertseyvets April 2020