Can my pet get this it?
Many mammalian respiratory viruses have some ability to cross species lines, but they are usually much weaker in the second species. So far, despite tens of thousands of pets being directly exposed, only one dog (and no cats, rabbits etc) In Hong Kong has tested a weak positive for the virus. That dog did not become ill and there was no chance of him spreading it.
Pets can, however, be "fomites", meaning they can be a surface on which a virus can live for a short while, no different than a doorknob or a blanket. Consequently, if you are ill, avoid coughing on or snuggling with your pet if the pet is going to be meeting other people.
I heard that there is a coronavirus vaccine in dogs, do you recommend it?
"Corona" is a large family of distantly related viruses that vary tremendously in their symptoms and severity. There has been a type of coronavirus in dogs for decades for which we do have a vaccine. This virus causes diarrhea in young puppies and is generally only a concern in breeding and shelter scenarios, so it is not part of the usual vaccination protocol for most dogs. The name is really just a coincidence!
How will I care for my pet if I get sick?
Birchwood Animal Hospital requests that clients with a fever or a dry cough (as well as those who have traveled outside of Canada in the last 14 days) to stay at home. If this is the case, but your pet requires medical attention and you are unable to find somebody else to bring them to the clinic, contact us as we will try to offer remote support through other means (telephone, emailed photos, video-chat etc). Delivery can be arranged for medications and food.
What is Birchwood Animal Hospital doing to prevent the spread of the virus?
Interestingly, a veterinary clinic is one of the very safest places in the community when there is a human viral outbreak, as we already have a high level of infection control measures in place (hand washing, surface sterilization etc), yet, unlike human medical facilities, we do not attract ill people! That being said, we will re-double our efforts to remain safe. We will also require staff and doctors who show any relevant signs of illness to remain home.
We are also trying to avoid congestion in our waiting room. Please consider calling from your car (204-832-1368) when you arrive to check that an exam room is ready for you. We are also happy to deliver food or medications to your car. Also, please consider coming outside of our peak 4:00-6:00 pm time. Moreover, to reduce crowding and wait times, we will be postponing many routine healthy pet annual visits and elective surgeries for the next two to three weeks, or until the situation clarifies. There will be some exceptions – please ask to speak to a doctor if you have questions!
What can I do to prevent the spread of the virus?
The best way is to keep up to date on guidance from public health authorities: https://www.gov.mb.ca/health/coronavirus/public.html