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CDC: Your Pets Pose No Threat of Giving, Getting Coronavirus – Even if They’re from China

By Craig Bannister | March 9, 2020 | 3:10pm EDT
(Getty Images/Jack Guez/AFP)

Animals, including pets – even if they came from China – pose no apparent risk of infecting humans with coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports. But, even though there haven’t been any reported cases of pets or other animals contracting coronavirus, you should restrict your contact with them if you have the disease, just to be safe.

“There is no reason to think that any animals including pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus,” the CDC website states, adding that, “To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19.”

Additionally, “There is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19,” the CDC explains:

“While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person in China. There is no reason to think that any animals including pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals. For more information on the many benefits of pet ownership, as well as staying safe and healthy around animals including pets, livestock, and wildlife, visit CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People website.”

And, while various government agencies impose restrictions on the importation of live animals into the United States, coronavirus-infected animals aren’t currently considered to pose a threat:

“CDC does not have any evidence to suggest that animals or animal products imported from China pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) play distinct but complementary roles in regulating the importation of live animals and animal products into the United States. CDC regulates animals and animal products that pose a threat to human health, USDA regulates external icon animals and animal products that pose a threat to agriculture; and FWS regulates external icon importation of endangered species and wildlife that can harm the health and welfare of humans, the interests of agriculture, horticulture, or forestry, and the welfare and survival of wildlife resources.

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“Animals imported from China will need to meet CDC and USDA external icon requirements for entering the United States. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19. As with any animal introduced to a new environment, animals recently imported from China should be observed daily for signs of illness. If an animal becomes ill, the animal should be examined by a veterinarian. Call your local veterinary clinic before bringing the animal into the clinic and let them know that the animal was recently in China.”

….

“Please refer to CDC’s requirements for bringing a dog to the United States. The current requirements for rabies vaccination apply to dogs imported from China, a high-risk country for rabies.”

Still, even though there’s no evidence that humans can give the coronavirus to animals, if you do contract it, you shouldn’t come into contact with your pet – and wear a facemask, if you do – as a precautionary measure, the CDC advises:

“You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people.

“Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. 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, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.”

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