Vaccines for COVID in dogs and cats? What you should know about pet immunizations and testing
COVID-19 has been found in a variety of animal species. Although cats and dogs cannot be vaccinated, you can protect them in other ways. Research has demonstrated that pets and other animals can contract the coronavirus during the COVID-19 pandemic. At least 15 species of animals, including household pets and wild animals, have caught COVID-19, according to the US Department of Agriculture. So, will there be a COVID-19 vaccination for cats or dogs?
Take a deep inhale and don't hold your breath. Simply said, pets are unlikely to become extremely ill as a result of the coronavirus, and they are also unlikely to transmit COVID-19 to humans. The danger of animals transmitting COVID-19 to people is negligible, according to the US Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Domestic pets also don't live in zoos, where many animals have been given an experimental COVID-19 vaccination from the veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis, either out of worry for their endangered status or because they may face hundreds of "oohing" and "aahing" humans each day. Some animals are also more susceptible to the virus than others.
"A vaccine is quite unlikely, I think, for dogs and cats," Dr. Will Sander, an assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, told The New York Times in a mid-November report. "The risk of disease spread and illness in pets is so low that any vaccine would not be worth giving.
So, how do I keep my pet safe from COVID-19?
It's unusual for pets to contract COVID-19. COVID-19 has been found in a "very small number" of pets around the world, according to the FDA. COVID-19 will make an even smaller number of them very sick.
If a dog or cat becomes ill, they may exhibit human-like COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, trouble breathing, sneezing, runny nose, diarrhea, and vomiting, according to the CDC. If you have COVID-19, avoid kissing, stroking, snuggling, or sleeping in the same bed as your pet since the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 transmits through close contact, according to the CDC. If someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19, keep them away from everyone, including your pet, if at all possible.
During a pandemic, disaster planning can also safeguard pets. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) suggests keeping an emergency kit containing at least two weeks' worth of pet food and a month's worth of pet medication on hand. It also suggests appointing a "designated caregiver" for your animals in the event that you are unable to assist them for any reason.
Although there are no COVID-19 vaccines available for cats or dogs, being up to date on your personal vaccinations (including a COVID-19 booster dosage) helps protect everyone in your family, including your pets.
COVID-19 and how not to protect your pet
The CDC advises against masking your dog or cat. Also, avoid using "chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or other items" on your pet, such as hand sanitizer and other cleaners. There is currently no indication that the COVID-19 virus may be transmitted through a pet's fur.
Can I obtain a COVID-19 test for my pet?
Call your veterinarian if you suspect your pet has COVID-19 or is sick for any reason. (However, do not visit a veterinarian in person if you have COVID-19.) Testing for pets may be indicated if the animal has had direct contact with a person who has COVID-19, according to the CDC. According to the CDC, veterinarians should "consider other, more prevalent causes of sickness in animals and use their clinical judgment when deciding whether to test animals for SARS-CoV-2." Given the limited frequency with which pets become symptomatically unwell from COVID-19, another disease or illness could be making your pet feel under the weather.
According to the CDC, if your veterinarian wishes to test your pet, it will be done using an oral, oropharyngeal (throat), and/or rectal swab.