Pets at risk for COVID-19

Our pets can get coronavirus; and it's unclear whether they can give it to us

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - This week we learned about the first Louisiana case of a dog testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.

Confirmation came from a statement released by Dr. Mike Strain, DVM, the longtime Commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF).

The statement also confirmed it was the same conclusions reached by the CDC.

Now that the CDC confirms our pets can be infected, owners are urged to take action.

“If you’re sick, socially distance from your dog. I think it’s not a bad idea,” said veterinarian Dr. April Mackey, DVM, from Towne South Animal Hospital off East 70th Street in Shreveport.

Dr. Mackey strongly suggests treating a pet as you would a person out in public.

Fortunately, there are no reports of a pet in northwest Louisiana contracting the novel coronavirus, but there have been plenty of phone calls from the public looking for guidance.

Mackey tells pet owners if they need to come in to the clinic, and they have COVID-19, to please call ahead.

“We don’t know what these dogs are carrying in to my staff. And we, I can’t socially distance when I’m doing an exam on a dog, especially on a sick dog,” explained Dr. Mackey.

At the Shreveport Dog Park, next to the Stoner Boat Launch along the Red River, some pet owners had not heard anything about any connection between COVID-19 and pets.

“I think that’s crazy...because I thought it was just humans too,” said cat owner, Nicole Donato.

The state urges people who get sick to not bring their pets to the animal shelter to drop them off. Instead, they suggest asking a relative or friend for help.

If that’s not an option, it is suggested owners should limit close contact with their pet by using social distancing and a mask.

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