Local vet shares what you should know about pets and coronavirus

Posted at 9:12 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 09:47:13-04

CASCADE, Mich. — A tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York recently tested positive for coronavirus and now it’s raising concerns about how the virus could affect pets at home.

But there isn't too much reason to worry according to local veterinarian Dr. Steven McBride.

“Pets have more to be concerned about from the people than the people have from the pets,” Cascade Hospital for Animals Medical Director Dr. Steven McBride said.

“If you think about it, they're going to get it from their owners, they're not going to, you know, just come up with it and give it to the owners in almost any conceivable case,” McBride added.

McBride says there’s not yet a commercial coronavirus test for animals, nor is there serious concern for how it may affect them.

“Even if your pet were to get it, it's probably not at least as far as we know at this time is going to be a big deal for them. I guess the only thing I don't want to see the public doing is panicking about the situation with their pets and trying to rush in and for testing. We don't even have tests available yet, and to realize that they are a greater threat to their pet than the pet is to them,” McBride explained.

But people should still take precautions, like quarantine away from pets, if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms

“If you are showing signs of respiratory disease, or you tested positive for corona, in addition to distancing yourself from other individuals. It's also wise to distance yourself from your pets. And that includes not only physical distance but of course wearing masks to try to prevent the spread as much as you possibly can, and those sorts of things.

Dr. McBride says both cats and ferrets are more likely to get infected and be affected by the virus

He also says people should not allow strangers to pet their dogs when they are out walking them, because coronavirus could be transferred on the coat and fur of animals, just like any other surface.

As for that tiger in New York, wildlife officials expect her to recover.