Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has been in the news a lot at the moment. At Aliante Animal Hospital, we wanted to provide an update to all of our clients about the risks to their pets, and what advice and guidelines are being suggested for pet owners.
Image Courtesy: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS
Last update 4/29/20
A pug has tested positive for COVID 19 and is thought to be the first dog in United States to have tested positive.
Like the dog cases in Hong Kong it is though that the Pug was infected by his owners, three of whom were also positive, and the positive result was considered “mild.”. It is also worth noting that another dog and a cat in same household tested negative.
Two domestic cats have tested positive for COVID 19 in New York.
These are the first cases of COVID 19 in cats in the United States.
Both cats showed mild respiratory symptoms and are expected to recover. The owner of one of the cats tested had previously tested positive for COVID 19, while it is suspected that the other cat’s owner was asymptomatic.
Previously a cat in Belgium and a cat in Hong Kong tested positive and two dogs tested a weak positive also in Hong Kong.
Recently, a Tiger tested positive for COVID 19 at the Bronx Zoo in New York. It is believed that the Tiger caught the virus from a keeper at the zoo, who was also COVID 19 positive but not showing symptoms.
This latest development for pets and COVID 19 does not really change the CDC’s guidelines, although they have provided additional clarification.
“Until we learn more about this new coronavirus, you should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would with people. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet,”
In addition, the CDC recommends:
“Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people and animals, do not gather in groups, and stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings. Do not go to dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather. To help maintain social distancing, do not let other people pet your dog when you are out for a walk.”
There are well over a million people have been tested for positive for COVID 19 and very few domestic pets.
An animal health lab, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc., which has developed a diagnostic test for COVID-19 in pets, released a statement on March 13th that out of thousands of samples from cats and dogs with upper respiratory symptoms none tested positive for COVID-19.
Likewise, Trupanion, a pet insurance company with 500,000 members has seen no uptick in claims for respiratory diseases in pets.
The CDC does NOT recommend testing pets for COVID 19.
The advice from the CDC is that there is no evidence that pets can spread COVID 19 to humans. “At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to below. A small number of pets have been reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after contact with people with COVID-19.”
The doctors and staff, like everyone else, are watching the situation closely. However, our advice and recommendations based on information from the CDC’s website, along with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) website.
At Aliante Animal Hospital, we have made a number of changes to respond to this crisis.
We have temporarily changed our hours to 7AM – 7PM, Monday through Friday, 8AM – 5PM on Saturdays, and 8AM – 2PM on Sundays.
We are not allowing clients into the building.
We have instituted curbside-service.
We will collect your pet from you in the parking lot next to your car (please remember your social distance), and we will communicate with you by phone. Payment by credit card will be made over the phone. Please just call us on 702-778-4443, and we will advise you as to each step of the process when you arrive. Our lobby doors will be locked.
Please keep your phone handy and answer blocked calls and text messages during your appointment – that is how we will be communicating with you.
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 we ask that you try to have another member of your household bring your pet in.
We have temporarily be suspended our grooming services until further notice.
We are accepting boarders and day boarders on a case-by-case basis.
Thank you for your understanding, and support, during this difficult time. We are making these changes to try and keep both our clients and our staff safe, while still being able to look after pets.
Obviously, this is a very difficult time for everyone.
We take our responsibilities to the pet community in Las Vegas, and the surrounding area, very seriously indeed, just as seriously as we take our responsibilities to our doctors and staff.
The State of Nevada considers veterinarians an essential service…
As per NRS 414.060; NRS 414.070; Declaration of Emergency, Directive 003, March 20, 2020 section 1(a), “Essential Licensed Business” includes essential healthcare operations such as veterinary services.
… so do we.
All of our staff have their temperature checked before starting their shift, and self-check throughout the day.
We have an almost constant cleaning regiment in place throughout the hospital.
Our staff wear masks at all times, both inside and outside of the building.
We have a delivery service for food, medications, and pets.
We also have an online store through our website.
For the moment we are providing routine services, including dentals as part of our dental special. However, if you would prefer not to come in at this time, we will be continuing the dental special to later in the year.
Aliante Animal Hospital has updated our own internal protocols, including cleaning and staff interactions, and we would ask clients to understand if handshakes and hugs are no longer the norm for the time being.
This is obviously a rapidly evolving situation and so things are changing day today, but our intention is to be there for you and your pet.