March has shown itself to be a challenging month thus far for us in the Queen City! The current COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it in Regina, SK including at our veterinary hospital. We have currently moved to a “curbside” model of providing service so our team can continue to deliver care to our patients as safely as possible at this time. (For more details please visit our Facebook Page and if you are a client, please check the email you should have received from us).
While there is still a lot that is unknown about this virus right now, both in terms of its implications for humans and animals, here is a recap of some of the information we have so far and answers to current questions we have been receiving:
The exact source of the virus at this point in time is still unknown. Some experts have postulated that this coronavirus may have originated from bats and passed through an intermediate animal host in China, prior to being transmitted to humans. As we have seen since then, the virus has now adapted to allow for human to human spread.
Research scientists are currently studying and trying to understand if and how COVID-19 may affect animals. While there have been reports of two dogs in Hong Kong that have tested positive for COVID-19 viral material, both dogs were known to have been exposed to a COVID-19 infected human. Both dogs also did not show any clinical signs of illness and at this time, the OIE has stated there is no evidence that pets are becoming ill after exposure to the virus nor are they transmitting the disease to humans.
If your pet appears to have developed a respiratory illness, we recommend an exam and consultation with one of our veterinarians to investigate further as it is more likely that other common veterinary respiratory pathogens could be the cause. If you feel your pet requires veterinary care, please call us at 306-789-0918 PRIOR to coming to our hospital so we can direct you further. We are not currently performing testing on pets for COVID-19.
At this point in time, there are no licensed commercial vaccines for COVID-19 available in Canada for animals. The vaccines for coronaviruses in dogs that exist currently are for the enteric (gastrointestinal) form of disease and there is no evidence that vaccination will provide any type of cross-protection immunity against the COVID-19 virus.
Our team still recommends that until more is known about COVID-19 in animals, that people who are currently ill or self-isolating due to contact with COVID-19 should avoid close contact with their pets, continue to practice good hand-washing frequently, avoid coughing and sneezing on your pets, and if possible, have other healthy members of your household provide the care for your pets. We also recommend limiting your animal’s contact with other people and animals outside of your household until your illness is resolved. Perform thorough hand washing before and after touching your pets, their food, or their supplies. We also recommend avoiding having your pet lick or kiss your face or hands, as well as avoiding sharing your food with your pet.
As always if you have any additional questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 and your pets please feel free to email our team! For further reading from reliable, accurate sources please visit the following links: