First canine with COVID-19 reported in Louisiana
The first reported case of a dog with COVID-19 in Louisiana has been reported by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) on Tuesday.
LDAF says this dog is SARS-CoV-2 positive, which is the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.
“Initially, it was believed pets could not get the disease, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now learning that animals can be infected,” Commissioner Mike Strain said, D.V.M.
There is currently no evidence that pets play a significant role in spreading the virus, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS).
Although the information on the topic is limited, the risk of animals spreading the virus to humans is considered to be low.
LDAF says there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare.
Strain added, “It appears that people with COVID-19 can spread the virus to animals during close contact. It is important for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to avoid contact with pets and other animals to protect them from possible infection. At this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended.”
According to the CDC, in many cases, the pets do not get sick, but some have suffered mild signs of respiratory tract or gastrointestinal disease. A small number of pet cats and dogs have been reported to be infected with the virus in several countries, including the United States.
The CDC recommends that patients with COVID-19 who have pets follow their recommendations, which can be found here.
Strain is urging Louisiana pet owners to not abandon or surrender their pets to animal control agencies if they can take care of them.
“If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, allow a family member or close friend to care for your pets. If no one is available, maintain a safe distance from your pet and frequently wash your hands before and after contact with your pet, their food and supplies,” Strain said. “Remember, in the event of any emergency, it is wise to have a pet plan as you would have a game plan for your family."
The LDAF cannot release any information that could identify the pet owner including where the dog is located.
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