Pet owners have nothing to fear with COVID-19

by Luann Morgan
Adams County Pet Rescue | April 21, 2020 6:32 PM

COVID-19 is having a detrimental effect on all portions of the community, including pet shelters. Many are reporting that they are seeing a lot of strays and drop-offs due to people either not being able to feed their pets or worried they can catch the virus from their animals.

Although unable to contribute the number of strays currently found in the area, Adams County Pet Rescue is beginning to see an uptick in dogs brought to the shelter.

Guy Palmer, DVM and senior director of global health at Washington State University, said pet owners can feel confident that the virus isn’t spreading between pets, owners and other pets.

“Animals spread viruses between one another that are genetically distinct from human viruses,” Palmer said. “The genetic distinction makes it extremely difficult for humans and their pets to pass diseases on to one another.”

The current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human-to-human transmission. The World Organization for Animal Health reports there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals, which may compromise their welfare, such as abandoning them based on unfounded fears over COVID-19.

Dogs and cats do have their own coronaviruses to deal with. However, neither canine coronavirus nor feline coronavirus can infect people.

Dogs infected with canine enteric coronavirus typically develop diarrhea. Dogs of all ages usually recover uneventfully on their own or with symptomatic care. Canine respiratory coronavirus is associated with some cases of kennel cough in dogs.

Feline coronavirus also tends to cause mild, self-limiting diarrhea, especially in kittens.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends you talk to your veterinarian about the best ways to care for your pet.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to severe respiratory diseases. Typical signs of infection are similar to the common cold and include respiratory symptoms, such as dry cough, fever, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and death.

The World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11.

“If you are not ill with COVID-19, you can interact with your animals as you normally would, including feeding and otherwise caring for them,” reports the American Veterinary Medical Association. “You should continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions (e.g., wash hands before and after interacting with your animals, including handling of food, supplies, and waste; keep feed, water, and any supplies used to deliver them clean; remove soiled bedding and replace as appropriate).”

Adams County Pet Rescue is located at 1961 Bench Road, east of the fairgrounds. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The facility is closed Mondays and Thursdays for cleaning.

To contact ACPR, call (509) 488-5514 or email adopt@AdamsCountyPetRescue. Be sure to visit the website at www.adamscountypetrescue.com and like their Facebook page.