(KTVX) — Hundreds of thousands of Americans have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last year, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says they are not alone. According to a new report, nearly 100 pet dogs and cats are said to have contracted the virus, mostly after close contact with an infected person.
“Treat pets as you would other human family members — do not let pets interact with people outside the household,” the CDC advises.
The CDC says infected pets might get sick or they might not have any symptoms, adding that of those that have gotten sick, most were only mildly ill and then fully recovered.
The risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low, based on the limited information available, the CDC says.
The CDC recommends pet owners limit their pet’s interaction with people outside their household to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading to their animals. The CDC offers these additional tips to keep you and your pets safe:
- Pets or other animals should not be allowed to roam freely, and cats should be kept indoors.
- Avoid public places where a large number of people gather.
- Do not put a mask on pets. Masks could harm your pet.
The CDC added that there is no evidence that the virus can spread to people from their pet’s skin, fur or hair. According to the CDC, you should not wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or other products like hand sanitizer, counter-cleaning wipes, or other industrial or surface cleaners.
If you have questions about appropriate products for bathing or cleaning your pet, the CDC says to contact your veterinarian.
The CDC added that if you are sick with COVID-19, either suspected or confirmed by a test, you should restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just as you would with people.
- When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
- Avoid contact with your pet including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, sharing food and sleeping in the same bed.
- If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a mask and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.
If you are sick with COVID-19, and your pet becomes sick, the CDC advises that you do not take your pet to the veterinary clinic yourself. Instead, contact your veterinarian and let them know you have been sick with COVID-19. Some clinics may offer telemedicine consultations or other plans for seeing sick pets.
At this time, the CDC says there has been no evidence that animals are playing a significant role in the spread of COVID-19, but because all animals can carry germs that can make you and other people sick, the CDC says it is always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals.
- Wash your hands after handling animals, their food, waste or supplies.
- Practice good pet hygiene and clean up after pets properly.
- Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s health.
- Be aware that children 5 years of age and younger, people with weakened immune systems, and older adults are more likely to get sick from germs some animals can carry.
According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, the infection of animals with SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — has implications for animal and human health, animal welfare, wildlife conservation and biomedical research.
The latest findings show that poultry and cattle are not susceptible to COVID-19 infection.
Utah is one of a number of states that have seen their mink populations affected by COVID-19.
In mid-December, a wild mink living in the area of an infected Utah farm tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Officials say this is the first free-ranging, native wild animal confirmed with SARS-CoV-2, to the best of their knowledge.
Utah’s state veterinarian Dr. Dean Taylor said in November that data does not suggest mink are a threat to people. Thousands of mink on Utah farms have already died because of the virus.