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COVID-19 paws-itive: How furry friends are adapting to the pandemic

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31 pets have contracted COVID-19 in the world, but the bigger risk is them experiencing neglect.

With only 31 confirmed animal cases of COVID-19 in the United States, pets are at a higher risk for neglect and abandonment than disease during this pandemic.

“There is no evidence that animals, including pets, are playing a significant role in the spread of COVID-19,” a report by One Health Federal Interagency COVID-19 Coordination group said. 

COVID-19, or SARS-CoV-2, is one of many different types of coronaviruses; the types that often infect dogs and cats do not infect humans. It is more likely that a pet owner would pass COVID-19 to their pets.

“Evidence to date from the few domestic animals that have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 indicate these infections are typically a result of close contact with people with COVID-19,” according to an article by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Rosslyn Biggs, Assistant Clinical Professor at OSU, said the pandemic is another reason pet owners need an emergency plan in place if they are ever no longer able to care for their pets.

“What I think folks need to think about, really at all times, is what happens if I can’t care for my animal,” Biggs said. “Preparedness, really at any time, is important.”

In an article by Biggs, she recommends pet and livestock owners prepare two weeks of food and medications, health records and transportation for their pets.

“Pet owners should have more than one option for pet care in their plan in the event the usual pet sitter or boarding facility is unavailable,” the article reads. “While the primary concern of the COVID-19 pandemic is human health, animal owners should have plans to ensure proper care of their animals in an emergency.”