Coronavirus: Pet owners should know that now

Can I infect my pet? What happens to my pet when I'm in quarantine? And can I temporarily leave my animal in the shelter? These and other questions currently concern millions of pet owners. The German Animal Welfare Association has published the answers on its website. Here is an overview of the most important questions:

Are there corona viruses in dogs and cats? So-called alpha corona viruses have been around in dogs and cats for years. In dogs they are noticeable as mild diarrhea, in cats they are possible triggers of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). However, they have nothing to do with the current SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is one of the beta corona viruses.

Can dogs and cats get the virus or transmit it?

So far it has been assumed that these animals do not play a role in the distribution. However, owners should wash their hands regularly and take general hygiene measures. Breathing masks or disinfectants are not necessary. On the contrary, they are more stressful for animals and can damage the skin and mucous membranes.

In China, a quarantined dog tested positive for the virus in late February. What does that mean?

The dog came from an infected person's household. The virus was found in the animal in very low concentrations by taking samples from the nose and mouth. To pass on an infection, the virus should be able to multiply in the dog and be present in sufficient concentration. This could not be found in the dog and the animal showed no symptoms of disease.

If I have the corona virus, should I avoid contact with my pet in quarantine at home?

Yes, even if there are no concrete indications that pets can get sick. Means: No cuddling, no sharing of food and avoiding nose and mouth contact. You should wash your hands thoroughly before and after each animal contact.

If my animal has been in contact with an infected person, am I at risk?

So far it has been assumed that animals play no role in the distribution. However, since the scientific investigations have not yet been completed, the current situation should be kept in mind and the general hygiene requirements observed.

What happens to my dog ​​or cat when I am in quarantine?

People with direct garden access can let their dog or cat out without leaving the house themselves. Cats can be cared for as usual. Otherwise, ask friends, family members or acquaintances who are not in quarantine to go out with the dog. In the best case, this person will not enter your apartment and will use a different leash and a different collar than you yourself.

Can I take my animal to an animal shelter?

Temporary delivery to a shelter or boarding house during the 14-day quarantine should only take place if there is no other option or if you need to go to a hospital yourself. Changing location and people could be very stressful for a pet.

What happens if a curfew is ordered for the whole city / community?

Dog owners in Italy, where a curfew has already been imposed, are still allowed to walk alone with their animals, despite orders. In such a case, the responsible health authority will inform you about how you should behave.

During these times, the animal shelters must also take certain precautions to ensure that the animals are cared for and to protect their staff from infection. Some animal shelters, such as those in the Allgäu, have closed for security. Others, such as the Hamburg animal shelter Süderstraße, have remained open, but group tours and information events have been canceled.

The German Animal Welfare Association, which recommends animal shelters, also recommends that, if necessary, cooperation with other animal shelters be checked to ensure that the animals are cared for by coronavirus patients.

To protect employees from the virus, shelter employees should avoid contact with quarantined persons and, if possible, keep a minimum distance from colleagues and customers. Even if the Robert Koch Institute does not currently recommend any special quarantine measures for animals, according to the Animal Welfare Association, animals in the home should be treated like found animals and accordingly housed in the quarantine station or kept individually.

Source: German Animal Welfare Association; Hamburg Animal Protection Association, Radio Allgäuhit

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