Most Recent Update from The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
2 NEW YORK STATE COVID-19 CASES IN PET CATS
AVMA: On April 22, the CDC announced the first National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL)-confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in two, pet cats. These are the first pets in the United States to test positive for SARS-CoV-2. The cats lived in two separate areas of New York state. Both had mild respiratory illness and are expected to make a full recovery. Currently, we have no information that suggests that pets might be a source of infection for people with the corona virus that causes COVID-19.
Until more is known about this virus, if you are ill with COVID-19 you should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just as you would restrict your contact with other people. When possible, have another member of your household or business care for any animals while you are sick. If you have a service animal or you must care for your animals, including pets, wear a cloth face covering; don't pet, share food, kiss, or hug them; and wash your hands before and after any contact with your pet, service animal, or other animals. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.
Additional guidance on managing pets in homes where people are sick with COVID-19 is available from the CDC.
Keeping Pets SafeFor responsible pet owners, preparing in advance is key. Make sure you have an emergency kit prepared, with at least two weeks worth of your pet's food and any needed medications. Usually, we think about emergency kits like this in terms of what might be needed for an evacuation, but its also good to have one prepared in the case of quarantine or self-isolation when you cannot leave your home.
Other appropriate practices include not letting pets interact with people or other animals outside the household; keeping cats indoors, if possible, to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people; walking dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet from other people and animals; avoiding dog parts or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather. While we are recommending these as good practices, it is important to remember that there is currently no reason at this time to think that domestic animals, including pets, in the United States might be a source of infection with SARS-CoV-2. Accordingly, there is no reason to remove pets from homes where COVID-19 has been identified in members of the household unless there is a risk that the pet itself is not able to be cared for appropriately. In this emergency, pets, and people each need the support of the other, and veterinarians are there to support the good health of both.
Testing Animals for SARS-CoV-2Routine testing of animals for COVID-19 is not recommended by the AVMA, CDC, USDA, American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD), National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV), or the National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials. Because the situation is ever-evolving, public and animal health officials may decide to test certain animals. In the United States, the decision to test should be made collaboratively between the attending veterinarian and local, state, and/or federal public health and animal health officials.
Current expert understanding is that SARS-CoV-2 is primarily transmitted person-to-person. There is no evidence that animals can transmit this virus to people. In rare instances, people have spread the virus to certain animals.