Local veterinarian warns of transmitting COVID-19 to your pets after 2 cats test positive

Posted at 10:17 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 08:48:28-04

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — A local veterinarian is answering questions about animals and the coronavirus after two cats tested positive for COVID-19 out of state.

Although animals contracting and passing on COVID-19 to humans is rare, we still need to take precautions with our animals to ensure we all remain safe.

"If you’re quarantining yourself because you are concerned that you are contagious to other people, you are also contagious to your animals," said Dr. Jacklynn Holifield, a veterinarian at Oakland Veterinary Referral Hospital.

Dr. Holifield says contrary to what some my think, animals can indeed test positive for the coronavirus.

"It can be transmitted from an asymptomatic carrier or with someone showing respiratory signs or others signs," she said.

The CDC says it appears the virus can spread from people to animals in some situations. The first case of an animal testing positive was at a zoo in New York and most recently two cats also in New York.

"Both cats that tested positive had mild respiratory signs and are expected to recover without any complications, and all other animals in other countries that tested positive survived," Dr. Holifield said.

To protect yourself and animals, the CDC recommends to keep your pets indoors and prevent them from interacting with other pets or people, and if you do test

positive for COVID-19, don’t interact with your pet and wear a mask during necessary interactions.

"You are to treat them like you would someone else, so wash your hands before and after handling them. No hugging, kissing, no sharing things with them, washing all their bedding and bowls and stuff like that," Dr. Holifield said.

The CDC says a small number of pets tested positive after interacting with someone infected with the virus. Still, Dr. Holifield says we need to treat our pets like people.

"If they’re sneezing and coughing and seem to be OK otherwise call your veterinarian. And, at anytime if an animal seems to be struggling to breathe extending their neck or has purple gums then they should be seen right away at an animal hospital," she said.

Again the best way to protect yourself and your pets, wash your hands and clean up after your pet.