By SCOTT COTTOS
Animals are often regarded as members of a family, so it would be natural for coronavirus concerns to extend to pets.
And while Tri-County Veterinary Clinic, 661 Plaza Drive, hasn’t been blitzed with worried pet owners, Dr. Timothy Stacy and his staff have been able to provide good news.
“I think we’ve had a few calls,” Stacy said. “… But we’ve met with our staff and have made sure that they’re aware that it doesn’t seem to be a concern as far as pets getting it. So, it’s something they can address pretty easily if someone does call.”
Information in that regard has come from the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Just as no cases of the coronavirus have been reported among humans in Seneca, Wood and Hancock counties, pets have been safe throughout the country, according to the CDC.
“CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19,” the CDC website says. “Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.”
Said Stacy: “The tricky thing is this is a new virus. It’s not something that’s been around, so we don’t have as much information about it, for sure. There has been some sampling done on pets and they’ve not isolated the virus, so it does not seem to be a concern at this point.”
On the flip side, the CDC says: “Coronaviruses that infect animals can become able to infect people, but this is rare.”
The agency also says, “We do not have evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19.”
The CDC also says it has not seen that imported animals or animal products are at risk of spreading the virus. It does remind people, though, that all animals carry germs that can make people sick, health precautions such as handwashing and cleaning up pets and after them is always favorable.
Although no local or area human cases of the coronavirus have been pinpointed, there’s no certainty that it couldn’t happen. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to double-down on protecting pets in that event.
“One of our resources that we look at is the (American Veterinary Medica Association),” Stacy said. “It has some useful information for us. They’re recommending that if someone in a household does come down with the coronavirus or they’re suspecting that they have it to maybe just minimize contact with their pets as much as possible if there’s somebody else in the household who’s not feeling ill is able to do that, like walking, feeding and playing, those kinds of things. Or, if somebody has a service pet, they may just want to kind of limit close contact, just to be cautious.
“At this point, we’re not seeing that pets are becoming infected. But just out of an abundance of caution, that would be a precaution they could take.”
Contact could not be made with veterinarians from the Fostoria Animal Clinic or Fostoria Pet Hospital.