Pet owners concerned after pug tests positive for COVID-19

Posted at 9:35 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 22:50:13-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Jane McNaught cherishes time spent with her dog, Quinn, while staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He’s another family member,” McNaught said. “We’re staying home as much as we can, and we don’t take him to day care like we used to.”

This week, she learned about a pug in North Carolina testing positive for the coronavirus.

“It’s concerning, just like it is for people,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there's no evidence animals play a significant role in spreading the virus causing COVID-19.

The agency says the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is low, and it appears it can spread from people to animals in some situations.

Dr. Denette Cooke told News 3 she has had pet owners bring up concerns about the virus at her Chesapeake office.

“If we see respiratory signs, that has certainly come up,” Cooke said.

If you have pets, the CDC says don’t let them interact with people or other animals outside the household. For cats, keep them indoors when possible to prevent interaction with other animals or people. For dogs, walk them on a leash maintaining at least six feet from other people and animals, and avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

The CDC also says to protect pets if you’re sick, avoiding contact with them and other animals. When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets. If you must care for your pet or be around other animals while you’re sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after interacting with them.

“The take home message is the exact same for humans,” Cooke said. “Don’t go out if you’re sick. Stay apart. Wash our hands.”

For Cooke, she said it's important to pay attention and to see a vet if your pet is sick.

“Pets don’t really like to tell us when they have issues,” she said. “We just want to make sure. We want to do our good due diligence, and make sure that we’re communicating with the veterinarian, and we know that everyone in the household is doing well.”

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