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COVID-19 & Pet Concerns

Your health and safety are our primary concern. Our compounding professionals are working diligently to care for people and their pets in this unprecedented time. Pharmacies across the country are compounding hand sanitizers for those on the front lines and their communities. We offer advice on how to strengthen your immune system to help fight off infections. Our pharmacists are vetting new information on treatment as it becomes available.

   Many pet owners have wondered if their cats or dogs can get or carry coronavirus. In response to the question “Although pets cannot become sick from COVID-19, could they serve as a conduit of infection between people?”, the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine: “Yes. It is possible that a person with COVID-19 could sneeze or otherwise contaminate their pet, and then another individual could touch that animal and contract the disease. Veterinary experts believe the risk for transmission would be low. COVID-19 survives longer on hard, inanimate surfaces (e.g., glass, metal) than on soft surfaces (e.g., fur, cardboard). Nevertheless, animals living with sick individuals should be kept away from other people and animals (quarantined at home), just as people who live with sick individuals must avoid contact with others.” 

   According to a study published in the journal Science on April 8, 2020, cats can become infected with the new coronavirus, and cats can infect each other via respiratory droplets. And, a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City who developed a dry cough and loss of appetite after contact with an infected zookeeper tested positive for the coronavirus. This has prompted the WHO (World Health Organization) to say it will take a closer look at transmission of the virus between humans and pets. 

   Currently, experimental conditions indicate that dogs have a very slight risk of infection that may not be very consequential. Young adult cats may get mild infections and spread the virus, and kittens may get very sick. It’s unclear whether cats can be infected just from sharing rooms and licking the face or hands of an infected owner. Therefore, it’s a good idea to protect kittens from any humans known to be sick with COVID-19, and to keep your face and hands well-washed regardless of whether you believe you have the virus if you have a kitten or young cat that licks them. It’s unclear whether these precautions need to be taken around dogs.

   Hand washing is known to be an important part of preventing spread between humans, so it seems best to treat any pets as another member of the household and protect them during this time.

References

https://vetmed.illinois.edu/pet_column/coronavirus-pets/ 

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/early/2020/04/07/science.abb7015.full.pdf

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.07.029090v1.full.pdf

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-pets/cats-can-catch-coronavirus-study-finds-prompting-who-investigation-idUSKCN21Q3DJ


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