The Star-Herald

Pets and the pandemic

Most of us have had just about enough of hearing about COVID-19 and the different variants that are popping up, but unfortunately, this pesky virus is still around.  It’s important to know a few warning signs and tips if you think you or your furry family members are affected with this illness.

The virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals during close contact, although the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is extremely low.  Pets can get serious illness from infection with the virus, but this is extremely rare.

If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), you should avoid contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would with people. Contact includes petting, snuggling, kissing, sharing food and sleeping in the same bed.  Common sense and consideration for your pet should kick in if you are sick and under the weather.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, CDC.gov, pets infected with this virus may or may not get sick. Of the pets that have gotten sick, most only had mild illness and fully recovered after being taken care of at home. Serious illness in pets is extremely rare.  

Pets sick with the virus may experience fever, coughing, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, lethargy (unusual lack of energy or sluggishness), sneezing, runny nose, eye discharge, vomiting and/or diarrhea.

If your pet is sick and you think it might be from the virus that causes COVID-19, talk to your veterinarian.

If you are sick with COVID-19 and your pet becomes sick, do not take your pet to the veterinary clinic yourself. Call your veterinarian and let them know you are sick with COVID-19. Some veterinarians may offer telemedicine consultations or other plans for treating sick pets.

We at the Central Aroostook Humane Society hope everyone and their pets can stay healthy and enjoy this beautiful summer. Please be responsible — spay and neuter your pets.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board for the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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