COVID-19 Resource Center for Pet Owners

Most recently updated June 11, 2020

STAY UPDATED AS A VIP

This information is evolving rapidly and Grinvites wants to keep you up to speed. Sign up for the VIP Grinvites Secret Club for weekly emails with answered COVID questions, shelter in place tips and more. You’ll also receive exclusive updates about new artwork and the absolute best sales. Sign up here: www.grinvitesart.com/omg

Q+A KNOWLEDGEBASE

Expand each section for detailed questions and answers.

COVID-19 Resource Center
for Pet Owners

Most recently updated May 1, 2020

COVID-19 Resource Center for Pet Owners

Most recently updated
April 26, 2020

STAY UPDATED AS A VIP

This information is evolving rapidly and Grinvites wants to keep you up to speed. Sign up for the VIP Grinvites Secret Club for weekly emails with answered COVID questions, shelter in place tips and more. You’ll also receive exclusive updates about new artwork and the absolute best sales. Sign up here: www.grinvitesart.com/omg

Q+A KNOWLEDGEBASE

Expand each section for detailed questions and answers.

Hi, I'm Mar (Dr. Mariam Kamal), founder of Grinvites. First, a little about me: I'm a veterinarian and I’m experienced in multiple areas of veterinary medicine. I have been practicing for almost nine years and I’ve been involved in the veterinary field for almost two decades.

The information that I assimilate here comes from highly reputable and credible sources. These include the American Veterinary Medical Association, top experts in the scientific and veterinary community and published scientific journal articles.

The information that I’m sharing with you is coming from specialized resources that I’ve digested to give you the most relevant and pertinent information.

Of course, our knowledge of this virus is constantly evolving and answers to certain questions are changing with time. Be sure to check back often for updates.

You can also join the Grinvites Secret Club VIP email list, where I've been sending weekly emails to answer COVID questions about pets.

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Read more at the World Health Organization website.

Yes, and those viruses have nothing to do with COVID-19.

There are many different types of coronavirus, including a canine coronavirus and a feline coronavirus. The canine and feline coronaviruses have been around long before COVID-19 and have completely different signs of infection.

To learn more, you can check out this detailed document released by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Currently this is a human health concern. We have no information suggesting that our pets might be a source of infection for people. We do have a small amount of evidence that we may pose a risk to our pets.

This virus is predominantly transmitted from human to human via respiratory droplets and contact. We only have evidence of 6 positive pets throughout the world at this time.

No. I’m going to give you five reasons you should not freak out: 

1. We have no evidence that pets can spread the virus to humans. 

2. There are a very small number of confirmed cases in animals. As of April 22, the number of people in the world with this new virus is above 2.6 million. Despite that, we are only aware of a handful of animals with confirmed infection. Those are two dogs and one cat in Hong Kong, four tigers and three African lions at the Bronx Zoo, and two pet cats in New York State. There was also a cat in Belgium that may have been positive.

So that is literally twelve confirmed cases in animals compared to 2.6 million in humans. 

It’s important to note that since mid-February, a highly respected lab called Idexx laboratories has tested thousands of samples from sick cats, dogs and horses from 17 different countries. All of those tests have come back negative. New data is currently being collected so that we can get more tailored information regarding animals that have been specifically been exposed to infected people. 

So to summarize that, there is little to no evidence that animals are easily infected with this virus out in the real world and there is no evidence that they can transmit the virus to people.

3. We already knew the original SARS virus could infect certain animals. If you ask an infectious disease expert, they’ll probably tell you that they knew certain animals would become infected. According to research after the SARS outbreak in 2003-2004, we already knew that the original SARS virus was infectious to cats and also ferrets, so much of the scientific community is not surprised that several pets have tested positive for this new virus. 

4. The cats that are currently positive are not getting very sick, and that includes the tigers and lions in New York. There are no cats or dogs on ventilators or even in intensive care units due to this new virus. Experts believe that many cats may not even develop symptoms if they become infected. 

5. Because you’re in control. You have the power to reduce risk for your pets. If you socially distance your pets in the same way you should be socially distancing yourself from other people, there is a very low chance they will bring this virus into your household.

On April 22, the Centers for Disease Control and National Veterinary Services Laboratories announced the first confirmed pet cases of the virus in the U.S. The virus was found in 2 pet cats in New York State, from separate households. Both cats were tested after signs of mild respiratory illness. Both cats are expected to recover fully. One cat came from a household with confirmed COVID. One cat came from a household with no confirmed COVID. It’s unclear where that cat got the virus, but it’s suspected it may have been an asymptomatic or mildly ill member of the household.

Possibly. (Well, possibly one.) Duke University is currently conducting a testing study in North Carolina, and they recently detected an infected pug.

The pug lives in a home where almost all of the family members were infected with COVID. The family reports that he seemed to have respiratory symptoms for a few days.

Now, as you probably know, pugs can never breathe quite right. And remember, there are a number of common causes of respiratory symptoms in dogs. That’s why even though he tested positive for the virus, it's unclear as to whether or not it caused his symptoms.

Note: It's also important to note that it's unclear if he was tested once or multiple times. The dogs in Hong Kong were tested multiple times to confirm they were positive.

Either way, that little pug is currently doing well and experts agree that if this is a true positive, he got the virus from his family.

As for the two dogs that tested positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong, and neither of them ever developed symptoms of COVID. From our scientific research and information from original SARS, we don’t expect dogs to be very susceptible to this new virus.

What you always do as a wonderful pet owner, which is three things:

1. Prevent bad things from happening to your pet. In this case, this involves preventing exposure to the virus (see question below).

2. Call your vet if you’re worried. (If your pet is sick, click "I'm worried my pet is sick. What should I do?")

3. Be prepared for an emergency. See further explanation on that below.

First, it’s ideal to keep your pet indoors. You should be socially distancing your pet just as you are socially distancing yourself. Kitties should stay indoors. If dogs need to be walked, they should be leashed and kept at least six feet away from other dogs and people. And don't go to the dog park.

If you are ill with COVID-19 you should be distancing yourself from pets and other animals, just as you would do with other people. That means if you have confirmed COVID or you’re worried you may have it, another member of your household should take care of your animals while you are sick.

If that is utterly impossible - for example you live alone - wear a cloth face covering around your pets. don’t pet them, kiss them, hug them or, share food with them. and wash your hands before and after any contact with your animals. And don’t share any dishes or linens with other people or pets in your home.

If your pet needs emergency care and you live in New York City, click "Where is veterinary care available?" for a list of emergency hospitals. If you do not live in New York City, do a quick internet search for the 24-hour hospital near you.

If your pet is sick but is not experiencing an emergency, talk to your veterinarian. Your vet will decide whether or not your pet needs to be evaluated at the clinic.

If your pet is sick, your vet needs to know if a person in your home is infected with COVID-19. The clinic needs that information as part of your pet's medical history and also to take the proper precautions if your pet eventually needs to be seen. 

Note: If your pet needs to be seen, you will likely not be allowed in the clinic. This is for the safety of your health and the health of clinic employees. Many veterinary hospitals are adopting a “curbside” protocol in which only staff and animals are allowed inside the clinic, and owners wait outside and speak with the veterinarian over the phone.

Make sure you have an emergency kit prepared with the following items:

1. Food and medication. The AVMA recommends at least two weeks’ worth of your pet’s food. I’m super cautious when it comes to my pets, so in my opinion it’s even better to have at least a month of your pet’s food, medications and supplements. (Note that even if your family veterinarian is closed, many are still answering phones for refill approvals and other requests.)

2. Toiletry essentials. Remember to stock up on essentials for your pet’s eliminations, such as cat litter, doggie bags, and diaper pads.

3. A safe method of transport. Make sure your carriers are clean and accessible, just in case emergency should arise.

4. Medical records. Request a copy of your pet’s medical records from your veterinarian and keep it on hand.

5. Water. Although there is currently no concern for loss of services like running water and electricity, it is always best to be prepared when you are in charge of another life. This is another super cautious thing, but in my opinion it’s just always best to be prepared. So I recommend purchasing several gallons of water for each pet in your household.

No. The reason for a person to wear a cloth mask is to protect the people around them. The reason for a person to wear an N95 mask is to protect both themselves and the people around them. Your dog doesn’t need either of those, because (1) there aren’t likely many infected dogs, (2) dogs aren’t thought to be very vulnerable to infection and (3) you are keeping your dogs away from people outside your home.

I personally think this is an excellent idea just in general. Experts have said that it is very unlikely the virus would ever be found on your dog’s feet.

I’m going to summarize the current recommendations for COVID-19 in regards to pets.

These are from the AVMA and are supported by guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

1. Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands before and after coming in contact with animals and their supplies.

2. Stay home. Keep your pets away from any people or animals outside your home. This includes keeping cats indoors. If dogs need to be walked, keep them leashed and at least 6 feet away from other people and animals. Avoid dog parks for obvious reasons.

3. Prevent pets from being exposed. If you are sick with COVID-19, distance yourself from your pets just as you would distance yourself from people. If you have a service animal or you must care for your animals, including pets, then wear a cloth face covering; don’t share food, kiss, or hug them, and wash your hands before and after any contact with them.

4. Keep your pet. Even if someone in your home has COVID-19, you can keep your pet. There is only one reason to remove your pet from your home: if you're worried you and your loved ones can't care for your pet appropriately.

If your pet needs emergency care and you live in New York City, click "Where is veterinary care available?" for a list of emergency hospitals. Otherwise, do a quick internet search for the 24-hour hospital near you.

If your pet is sick but is not experiencing an emergency, talk to your veterinarian. Your vet will decide whether or not your pet needs to be evaluated at the clinic.

If your pet is sick, your vet needs to know if a person in your home is infected with COVID-19. The clinic needs that information as part of your pet's medical history and also to take the proper precautions if your pet eventually needs to be seen. 

Note: If your pet needs to be seen, you will likely not be allowed in the clinic. This is for the safety of your health and the health of clinic employees. Many veterinary hospitals are adopting a “curbside” protocol in which only staff and animals are allowed inside the clinic, and owners wait outside and speak with the veterinarian over the phone.

Remember that your family veterinarian may be open, even if only for telehealth appointments.

If your family veterinarian is closed, there are telehealth options and in an emergency, there are 24-hour ER facilities for animals that remain open throughout the country. Do an internet search to find the one nearest you.

In New York City, the following emergency centers remain open:

BluePearl Veterinary Partners
MANHATTAN - MIDTOWN WEST
410 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019
(212) 767 0099

BluePearl Veterinary Partners
MANHATTAN - DOWNTOWN
1 W 15th St, New York, NY 10011
(212) 924 3311

BluePearl Veterinary Partners
BROOKLYN
190 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 596 0099

BluePearl Veterinary Partners
QUEENS
107-28 71st Road, Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 263 0099

Animal Medical Center
MANHATTAN - UPPER EAST SIDE
510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065
(212) 838-8100

Veterinary Emergency Group
MANHATTAN - UPPER EAST SIDE
1215 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10065
(212) 223-3500

Veterinary Emergency Group
SOUTH BROOKLYN
2220 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11234
(718) 677-6700

Likely not. Routine testing of animals is not recommended.

Now there are some circumstances when a vet may determine a pet should be tested, for example if a person in the pet’s home has confirmed infection AND the pet has signs consistent with infection AND other more common causes of the pet’s signs have been ruled out by the vet. In that case, the veterinarian will discuss the case with the state public health veterinarian or “designated health official” and they’ll decide if the animal should be tested.

Another example when veterinary testing is recommended is if the animal is a rare, threatened or endangered like the big cats at the Bronx Zoo.

It’s important to note two things about testing animals for this virus:

1. Animals are not competing with humans to get tested―animal tests go to a veterinary laboratory and human samples go to a human laboratory.

2. Even if a pet tests positive for COVID-19, that is not currently changing the medical treatment they receive. So you don’t need to fret about the fact your pet likely won’t get tested.

1. Only urgent-care visits. All routine visits and elective surgeries should be rescheduled.

2. No owners should enter the clinic or hospital – animals are dropped off, examined, and owners are called from inside the clinic with a plan for testing and treatment.

3. All leashes, collars and carriers should be cleaned with an approved alcohol-based sanitizer before (and after) the visit.

Below are links to policies from several veterinary schools. Numerous institutions are adopting the policies I outlined above.

University of Pennsylvania
Cornell University
North Carolina State University

This dog was a 17-year-old Pomeranian whose owner had tested positive. The dog's nasal and oral cavities were tested on February 26 via RT-PCR (this is a test that can detect fragments of the virus). PCR testing was also done on February 28, March 2, 5, 9 on nasal cavity samples.

 It eventually tested positive for COVID antibodies, indicating an immune response. It ultimately tested negative with two different methods of testing (virus isolation and viral PCR testing) and was released from quarantine.

This dog never developed symptoms of COVID. Unfortunately, as an older dog, this pet had other ongoing health issues. Three days after release from quarantine, this pet passed away. It's passing is not thought to be related to COVID.

This is a 2-year-old German Shepherd dog whose owner had tested positive. The dog tested positive on March 18 (also 19 and 20) via RT-PCR. It was then PCR negative for 10 consecutive days. March 25 it was reported that virus was isolated from samples and on April 5, antibodies were detected. This dog never developed clinical signs of COVID and was eventually released to owner.

This cat's owner had tested positive. The cat tested positive on March 30 via nasal, oral and rectal samples. It was also positive on oral and nasal samples April 1. This cat never developed any clinical signs of COVID.

On March 18, a veterinary school in Belgium reported that vomitus and feces from a sick cat had tested positive for the virus. This cat gastrointestinal signs (i.e. vomiting) rather than respiratory signs. Testing and timeline in this case make it unclear as to whether this cat was truly sick with COVID. This cat improved 9 days after becoming sick.

This case is inconclusive because of questions surrounding collection and analysis of samples, as well as lack of evaluation for more common causes for its clinical signs.

On April 22, the Centers for Disease Control and National Veterinary Services Laboratories announced the first confirmed cases in U.S. pets.

Both cats were tested after signs of mild respiratory illness.

One cat came from a household with confirmed COVID and one did not. The one that did not was an indoor-outdoor cat whose owner had no symptoms of COVID-19 and was never tested. However, the cat lived in an area with a high number of human COVID-19 cases.

Both cats were expected to recover fully and no concerns have been reported regarding their recovery.

Duke University is currently conducting a testing study in North Carolina, and they recently detected an infected pug while conducting a testing study in pets and humans in North Carolina.

Note: This case has not been recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association or the National Veterinary Services Laboratory, possibly due to lack of confirmatory testing. It's unclear if this pug was tested once or multiple times. The dogs in Hong Kong were tested multiple times to confirm they were positive.

The pug lives in a home where almost all of the family members were infected with COVID. The family reports that he seemed to have respiratory signs for a few days.

Now, as you probably know, pugs can never breathe quite right. And remember, there are a number of common causes of respiratory signs in dogs.

That’s why even though he tested positive for the virus, it's unclear as to whether or not it caused his signs.

Either way, that little pug is currently doing well and experts agree that if this case was a true positive, he got the virus from his family.

On June 2, the USDA NVSL (National Veterinary Services Laboratory) announced the first confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 in a dog in the United States. (Again, the previously mentioned pug was not considered a confirmed case.)

The dog in question is a German Shepherd dog that lives with one other dog and their two owners in New York state. Before the dog developed respiratory signs, One of the dogs’ owners had tested positive for COVID-19. The other had symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

Extensive testing has confirmed that this German Shepherd dog was infected with SARS-CoV-2. The dog was presumed to have been infected by its owners and is expected to make a full recovery. Testing on the second dog in the home revealed that it had been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, though it never developed clinical signs.

Four tigers and three African lions have been confirmed to have COVID-19. The animals were tested due to mild respiratory signs. The original COVID positive tiger was reported on April 5th.

The original tiger’s name is Nadia. It appears she got the virus from one of the zoo employees. This was the first instance of a tiger being infected with COVID-19. Nadia was tested because she was showing signs of respiratory illness. Several other tigers and lions became sick as well.

The zoo’s chief veterinarian, Dr. Paul Calle, reported the illness as being mild. Only one tiger was tested initially because nasal samples were acquired for testing, and big cats must be anesthetized for certain tests. Anesthesia always poses a health risk, especially in sick wildlife.

Later, fecal testing was performed on several other tigers and several lions. They were confirmed to be positive. All of the sick lions and tigers at the Bronx Zoo were reportedly expected to recover and no other zoo animals were reported to be affected including the other exotic cats.

The Bronx Zoo issued a statement regarding the cats' progress on April 22. You can read it here.

Click here to see an interesting and informative interview with the Bronx Zoo’s chief veterinarian, Dr. Paul Calle.

Read the New York Times article here. It includes direct quotes from the Bronx Zoo’s chief veterinarian, Dr. Paul Calle.

Note: Dr. K. Ullas Karanth, top recognized tiger conservationist and Director of the Centre for Wildlife Studies in India, reports that COVID-19 is not a top threat for wild tiger populations. Other concerns, such as poaching and habitat loss, remain on the top of the list.

On April 26, it was reported that several minks have tested positive in the Netherlands.

As of May 8, four mink farms have confirmed COVID-19 in their minks.

On June 1, four additional farms were confirmed to have mink with COVID-19.

A few points:

  1. These minks are on breeding farms where there were sick employees. It is suspected that in most cases, the minks contracted the virus from those employees.
  2. There are at least two cases in which humans may have contracted COVID from the minks. This is currently being studied.
  3. The sick minks had intestinal and respiratory disease.
  4. It's unclear how many minks are sick.
  5. Seven of 24 cats on these mink farms were found to have circulating antibodies specific for SARS-CoV-2, indicating they had been infected with the virus. The cats' role in the minks' disease is not clear. This is being studied.


On May 28, the following strict biosecurity measures were enacted across all mink farms in The Netherlands. (They had already been in place on the infected farms.)

  • A transport ban on minks and mink manure.
  • A hygiene protocol for visitors and vehicles.
  • A ban on visitors to the barns (that is, restriction of persons who are allowed to enter buildings that house mink).
  • The obligation that mink farmers must ensure as far as possible that other animals (dogs, cats and ferrets) cannot enter or leave the farm.

On June 3, the Minister of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality and the Minister of Health, Welfare, and Sport decided that infected minks posed a significant risk to animal health and possibly to public health. They decided that mink on all current and future infected mink farms will be culled and owners compensated for their loss.

Studies are ongoing. You can check the AVMA's in-depth summary of reported cases of naturally occurring SARS-CoV-2 infection in animals for updated information.

First, you can always check back at this resource center. I created this page for pet owners and it includes all of the best detailed and credible resources to learn about this virus as it relates to animals. I am keeping this center stocked with information and updates, so check back often.

You can also feel free to join my VIP email list to stay updated. I’ve been sending weekly updates that include answered questions about this virus as it relates to animals.

My VIPs can even respond to my emails with questions they’d like me to address in future emails or in the resource center.

This service is completely free and it’s super easy to join - just go to www.grinvitesart.com/omg today.

There are a lot of scientists around the world doing testing and monitoring so that we can understand more about where the virus came from, how it is transmitted and how it works inside the body.

Instead of talking in detail about the research studies being done, I’m just going to tell you the two most important pet-related take home points:

1. There is no conclusive evidence that cats, ferrets or other domestic animals in real world conditions can be readily infected with this virus.

2. There is no evidence that pets or other animals pose a risk to infect people with this virus.

So to sum up, keep your pet. Protect your pet. Socially distance yourself and your pets. Ask for help from your vet if needed. And stay calm.

First I’d like to say that my heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by this virus, especially where it has impacted your health or the health of your family. All of us must continue to fight with our greatest strength.

I’m going to quote a relatively objective figure that anyone can relate to: the personal development expert Tony Robbins. Tony sent an email out on Monday, March 23rd with the following message:

“No matter where you are in the world, no matter how much time you have or don’t have, you can work on yourself….remember: It’s time to become conscious of your power and remind yourself and all those around you the human race is resilient, flexible, and strong beyond imagination. Lead, don’t follow.

“Discover ways to innovate, to create and to give and support others who may not see past the winter. Lead with the truth of our essence, that faith and certainty, our natural birthright and our abilities, can be awoken. This ability can be activated, so live the truth today around everyone you’re around. Then we can solve any problem we face. The human race always has, and it always will.”

You can read Tony’s full email to his followers here.

I think that Tony does an excellent job explaining our opportunity for growth here. This is where the rubber meets the road. We are experiencing what may possibly be the most dramatic historic event of our lifetimes. Now is the time for focus, not fear.

Many of us have heaps of unexpected free time on our hands in our new work-from-home settings. Instead of spending this time scrolling through Instagram or binging on Netflix, why don’t we use the gift of this time to look inward and work on ourselves and our lives

Yes, there is uncertainty. There may be new job applications, unemployment checks, unpaid bills. But when the dust settles and you’re twiddling your thumbs, why not listen to a new book on Audible? Watch a documentary? Sit down with your life goals? Spend time cherishing your family?

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we emerged from these ashes stronger than ever before?

Every single one of us is stronger than we realize and smarter than we think. What if we used this unprecedented time as a springboard to catapult forward? Think to yourself, how has this situation forced you to think outside the box? Have your priorities shifted, or maybe you’ve realized they’re different than what you thought?

Think to yourself: what can you do with this time that could change your life—or better yet, others’ lives?

I will leave you with that food for thought. I thank you for being dedicated pet owners and animal advocates. I urge everyone to stay safe and follow the guidelines of our health experts and officials working so hard to protect our health. Remember to check back here often and join the VIP Grinvites Secret Club email list to stay updated.


Stay safe and be well,

Mar

FAVORITE VIDEOS

Interview with the Bronx Zoo's Dr. Paul Calle,
April 6, 2020
VetGirl lecture with Dr. Scott Weese and
Dr. Melissa Bourgeois, March 24, 2020

Q+A: Pets and COVID-19 | Cupcake Trainings on YouTube

Interview with the Bronx Zoo's
Dr. Paul Calle, April 6, 2020
VetGirl lecture with Dr. Scott Weese and
Dr. Melissa Bourgeois, March 24, 2020

Q+A: Pets and COVID-19
Cupcake Trainings on YouTube

COMPREHENSIVE LINK LIBRARY

COMPREHENSIVE LINK LIBRARY

AVMA
Detailed, up to date information about affected animals worldwide. Also includes summaries of research studies in cats, ferrets and Syrian hamsters.
Worms and Germs Blog
Infectious disease experts Dr. Scott Weese and Dr. Maureen Anderson have been keeping this blog full of up-to-the-minute information on COVID-19 and animals.
VetGirl
A specialized website for veterinarians. Includes two free webinars about COVID, a podcast on how to work from home and several mental health resources.
AVMA
Detailed, up to date information about affected animals worldwide. Also includes summaries of research studies in cats, ferrets and Syrian hamsters.
Worms and Germs Blog
Infectious disease experts Dr. Scott Weese and Dr. Maureen Anderson have been keeping this blog full of up-to-the-minute information on COVID-19 and animals.
VetGirl
A specialized website for veterinarians. Includes two free webinars about COVID, a podcast on how to work from home and several mental health resources.
News Service from the
Veterinary Information Network

The most recent news that involves the veterinary world.
CDC COVID-19 Page
All of your recommendations from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in one place.
WHO COVID-19 Page
This page organizes all of the most important information from the World Health Organization.

DON'T MISS OUT.

This information is evolving rapidly and Grinvites wants to keep you up to speed. Sign up for the VIP Grinvites Secret Club for weekly emails with answered COVID questions, shelter in place tips and more. You’ll also receive exclusive updates about new artwork and the absolute best sales. Sign up here: www.grinvitesart.com/omg
This information is evolving rapidly and Grinvites wants to keep you up to speed. Sign up for the VIP Grinvites Secret Club for weekly emails with answered COVID questions, shelter in place tips and more. You’ll also receive exclusive updates about new artwork and the absolute best sales. Sign up here: www.grinvitesart.com/omg