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Basic Hygiene to Keep your Pets Safe

Basic Hygiene Keeps Everyone Safe - Including your Pets

Lort Smith Animal Hospital is reassuring pet owners that following basic hygiene principles will keep your pet safe from COVID-19. 

“Currently there is still zero evidence that companion animals can transmit to humans, or play any role in the spread of this disease,” said Dr Cunliffe adding, “the main method of transmission of COVID-19 is human to human.”

To date there have been three cases of human to animal transmission of COVID-19.

Two dogs in Hong Kong who tested positive to COVID-19 have shown no clinical signs. However a cat in Belgium is reported to be experiencing symptoms including vomiting, diarrhoea, and respiratory signs.

There has been over 4,000 tests of canine and feline samples in Canada, USA and EU, including areas with high rates of COVID-19 in the human population. All samples have been negative to date.

“The evidence shows human to animal transmission is still very rare,” said Dr Cunliffe.

Upholding basic hygiene principals is key to protecting your pet. Hand hygiene is essential before and after handling your pets, as well as their food and water bowls. 

“Wash your hands before and after handling your pet, or anything that belongs to your pet,” recommended Dr Cunliffe adding, “also, while it might seem obvious, don’t kiss your pet,” added Dr Cunliffe.

Lort Smith Animal Hospital advises members of the public infected by the virus to minimise close contact and handling of their pets.

Current evidence suggests it is not necessary to have someone else look after your cat or dog if you test positive to COVID-19. However if you have a pet ferret [1] extra caution is recommended.

“People who are sick or potentially have COVID-19 should avoid close contact with their pet ferrets,” warned Dr Cunliffe.

Lort Smith advises that where possible, have another member of the house care for the ferret during this time. Additionally ensure all people living in the household should maintain good hygiene practices - including minimising direct contact to best protect our ferret friends.

“If you are at all worried about your pet, please call your vet,” implored Dr Cunliffe.

Lort Smith remains open to the public and will continue to offer emergency, urgent and essential care to animals. At present Lort Smith’s opening hours are 8:30am-10pm every day of the year. 

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About Lort Smith

Lort Smith is the largest not-for-profit animal hospital in Australia, delivering essential and life-saving services to sick, injured and vulnerable animals. Each year our team of more than 60 vets and 110 nurses provide quality care for around 25,000 animals. Lort Smith rehomes approximately 850 animals each year and operates a number of community outreach programs which have a significant social impact on the community. Lort Smith receives no ongoing government funding. 

[1] Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has informed vets of the following: according to studies no known ferret has naturally contracted SARS (SARS-CoV-1 or this current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic). However given the evidence of experimental clinical infection in ferrets with SARS-CoV-1 we suggest extra caution be taken if a ferret has been exposed to an infected owner.

Lead image (supplied) Credit: Jordan Tzovlas Photography

MEDIA RELEASE, 1st April 2020

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