There’s so much going on in the world today and so much conflicting information, sometimes it’s hard to tell up from down and left from right. Like all of you, I’m watching the news intently and trying to balance reasonable precautions without lapsing into panic mode.
Here, have a picture the dogs begging for popcorn. That always helps me:
I’m not the ultimate authority on epidemiology, but I am surrounded by people who live and research in this space. I trust what they say, so I pass it on to others. Why does this matter? Because with the virus spreading more and more every day, I’m very concerned about the power of misinformation and how it can hurt you and your pets. It’s already happening in other parts of the world (the information may be upsetting to some people.
What We Know Today (March 12)
- World Health Organization and other reputable resources DO NOT think dogs or cats are capable of transmitting the disease.
- Your dog has more to fear from you than you from him. A dog in Hong Kong whose owner had the virus also tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The dog is in quarantine, but is not sick. A virus can hang out in another species without causing disease, and also without being infectious to others. At this moment, this seems to be the case. Unless something big changes, no one suspects your dog is going to infect you. Feel free to reply to your high school FB friend with this information.
- Wash your hands. I mean, we always say that anyway, but do it even more. Wash wash wash. For 20 seconds, long enough to sing “Happy birthday” two times. If no soap is around, hand sanitizer that’s 60% alcohol or better will work. You should rub it around for- you guess it- 20 seconds.
- Have extra supplies on hand. There’s a difference between hoarding everything in sight and having some extra dog and cat food around. To be honest, no one really knows how supply chain logistics are going to be affected by coronavirus, and it’s possible/ likely you will be more impacted by empty shelves than severe illness. An extra week or two’s worth of pet food, meds, and litter is great. A month is even better (especially if they are on a special diet).
If this sounds pretty basic, it’s because it is. That’s good, right? If you want to get into the nitty gritty, read on:
Where Can I Go For Information?
I can’t stress this enough: Trust your sources. If something sounds really off, verify it. I follow public health organizations dedicated to both animal and human health research, and those are the places I go to first and last. Talk to your vet. They’re following it too.
The situation can change rapidly, and I’ll update here if I hear something new. Here’s who I’m following for the updates:
World Organisation for Animal Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Small Animal Veterinary Organization
Worms and Germs Blog– if you like the conversational approach, this is written by some great public health experts from Canada.
CDC and WHO are also where I go for the people stuff. Reddit fan? They actually have a great collection of expert resources right here.