The world has changed with the Corona Virus or Covid-19. Right now many of us are self quarantining or complying with imposed "stay-at-home" orders. We are being bombarded with information and it can be confusing and overwhelming. While we are concerned about our families and ourselves, money, bills, food and toilet paper, there are also our four legged family members thrown into this crazy mix.
Leaving pets behind is not acceptable and stories emerging of animals being abandoned, killed or dumped at shelters from Europe, China, the U.S. and now Georgia, are disturbing.
But don't worry, we are providing you with all the info you'll need and updates on any new information as it becomes available.
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CDC has published new Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Veterinary Clinics during the COVID-19 Response. This guidance is for veterinarians and veterinary staff providing care to companion animals. The intent of this guidance is to facilitate preparedness and to ensure practices are in place in a veterinary clinical setting to help people and animals stay safe and healthy.
Can my pet catch Covid-19 or give Covid-19 to me?
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations, all agree there is no evidence to indicate pets become ill with Covid-19 or that they spread it to other animals or people.
These health organizations include the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. Both have stated there is no evidence companion animals such as cats and dogs can spread the virus.
“Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare,” the OIE said. However the AVMA said that “out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that those ill with Covid-19 “limit contact” with animals until more information is known about the virus. It is also recommended that pet owners use good hygiene practices and avoid “kissing” their pets.
What about farm animals?
Novel (new) COVID-19 strain infects people and has caused a global panic. However, coronaviruses are not new to livestock and poultry producers. Despite its likely animal origin, the current coronavirus causing COVID-19 is not making animals sick, including livestock.
Recently an Animal Control Director wrote:
After listening to Governor Kemp’s press conference this evening regarding COVID-19 I became curious as to the classification of “First Responders” in the state of Georgia.
After doing some research I have not located anything to give me any closure on the subject. I am the Director of Animal Control in a Georgia county and we are responding daily to animal related emergencies and are many times first on the scene, at times we are the only public safety responder, depending on the severity and response time.
We are still currently responding to animal emergency calls even with the threat of Covid-19. Please help me to find any criteria or training that would help to ensure that our department is recognized should any future public safety threats need our experience and training to assist. Also to ensure that the employees in my department receive any lifesaving protective equipment or benefits that may be offered for classified First Responders in Georgia, or nationally.
It is essential that Animal Control and Animal Shelter Directors be in communication with her/his local Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director and the State Operations Center (SOC) in their county. Much of the information he/she is requesting can be accessed through the local EMA office. Below are the CDC websites pertaining to guidance for First Responders:
Any PPE requirements that they may have should be vetted through the local EMA and/or local Department of Public Health (DPH). DPH should be in the local SOC with the EMA director. If the local officials need resources, they need to file a request for assistance which will move from local EMA/DPH to Georgia Emergency management Agency (GEMA) and then to the various ESF functions that cover that sector. Right now, PPE resource request are being managed by DPH and GEMA.
The most important thing they can do is meet with the local DPH representatives and the local EMA.
For more on calling on nation’s governors to classify pet supply, veterinary practices and other businesses needed to sustain animals’ lives as essential, see a recent press release by HSUS .