As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, you may be overwhelmed with the conflicting news, and the latest updates. In such times of crisis, separating fact from opinion, and discovering exactly what you need to know to keep your pet and your family safe, can be difficult. Misinformation abounds, so we wanted to share accurate, current information with our extended family. We debunk the top myths about the latest coronavirus strain.

Myth: Social media has the most up-to-date information about COVID-19

Fact: We’ll admit social media has its uses, such as the neighborhood scoop on which grocery store still has canned goods and toilet paper, but for scientific facts, turn to a different source. Major animal and human health organizations are banding together to combat the novel coronavirus strain, and releasing information as quickly as they discover new data. The most reputable websites include:

If you have specific questions regarding your pet’s health condition and COVID-19, contact our team at Riverbend Veterinary PetCare Hospital. 

Myth: Pets can become ill from COVID-19 since they get other coronavirus strains

Fact: While pets can develop species-specific coronavirus strains, there have been no reports of COVID-19-related illness in pets. Dogs and cats can be affected by an enteric coronavirus that causes mild, self-limiting diarrhea, while dogs can develop a respiratory version that has been linked to some kennel cough cases. In rare instances, the feline enteric coronavirus can mutate to cause feline infectious peritonitis, which is almost always fatal. 

Myth: Dogs are dying from COVID-19

Fact: As of today, only two dogs have tested positive for COVID-19, and neither pet showed illness signs. While it is true that one dog died, he was a 17-year-old Pomeranian, who reportedly had a number of chronic health conditions, and he tested negative for the virus before he was released from quarantine. Since the owners declined a necropsy, there is no official cause of death. Despite this one dog’s death, health officials agree on the potential risk for pets, and the major health organizations, including the CDC and WHO, have declared that no evidence currently indicates pets can become sick, or serve as an infection source for people, or other animals. 

Myth: All pets need to be tested for COVID-19

Fact: A major veterinary diagnostic laboratory evaluated thousands of canine and feline samples during validation of a COVID-19 test for pets, and found no positive results. Based on the fact that zero pets tested positive from a large sample size, and that no cases of pets becoming ill from COVID-19 have been reported, there is no need to test every pet for this disease at this time.

Myth: My coughing dog has COVID-19

Fact: As mentioned, no cases of ill pets have been reported, so your coughing dog is unlikely to have contracted COVID-19. But, if your pet has developed any respiratory issues, such as coughing, sneezing, fever, or nasal or ocular discharge, call us to schedule an appointment. We will rule out common respiratory conditions, such as kennel cough, to ensure there is no evidence of COVID-19. If your pet has been exposed to a sick person, let us know when you schedule the appointment. 

Myth: Pets must be able to get COVID-19, since the CDC says we shouldn’t care for our pets if we’re sick

Fact: Although there is no evidence to indicate your pet can become ill from COVID-19, she can act as a secondary transmission route. Pets can carry pathogens on their fur, collars, or leashes, which can infect people through contact. If someone in your household is diagnosed with COVID-19, treat your pet as a potential disease carrier. The CDC recommends washing your hands before and after handling your pet, and refraining from kissing, hugging, snuggling, or sharing food with your four-legged friend, if you are ill. Ideally, you should have someone in a healthy household care for your pet, to minimize potential transmission. 

Myth: No one will be available at Riverbend Veterinary PetCare Hospital to care for my pet

Fact: Despite social distancing and self-isolation, we are still devoted to providing the best care for your pet. As the COVID-19 situation develops, we may need to change our policies to ensure our team, your pet, and our community remain healthy and safe, but we will continue to provide veterinary services. We ask that you stay home if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, and that you reschedule your pet’s wellness visit, or elective procedure. If your pet needs urgent care, and you are ill, have a friend bring your pet in for treatment, and ensure you let us know your pet has been exposed to COVID-19, so we can take proper precautions. 

Although these are worrisome times, we are dedicated to public health, your pet, and our community. If you have any questions about the latest COVID-19 news, or your pet’s health, contact us.