Interim infection prevention and control guidance for veterinary clinics treating companion animals during the COVID-19 response
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Up-to-date Information

Up-to-Date Info: To find the latest CDC information on this topic go to:

Interim infection prevention and control guidance for veterinary clinics treating companion animals during the COVID-19 response

Filetype[PDF-172.35 KB]

  • English

  • Details:

    • Description:
      Key Concepts

      • This interim guidance is for veterinarians and their staff who may be treating or advising on companion animal medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

      • Veterinary facilities have unique characteristics that warrant unique infection control considerations.

      • At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals play a significant role in spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Based on the limited data available, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low. We are still learning about this virus, and it appears that in some rare situations, people can spread the virus to animals. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by the virus, and the role animals may play in the spread of COVID-19.

      • To protect staff and preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic, veterinary clinics should prioritize urgent and emergency visits and procedures until regular business operations resume in your community. Curbside service and telemedicine can be effective options to support patient care while social distancing.

      • Proactively communicate to both staff and pet owners the need for them to stay at home if sick.

      • Develop a plan for what to do if a pet owner with respiratory symptoms comes into your clinic, or if a pet with a history of exposure to a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 needs to be seen.

      Who this guidance is for: Veterinarians and veterinary staff providing care to companion animals

      Purpose: The intent of this guidance is to facilitate preparedness and to ensure practices are in place in a companion animal veterinary clinical setting to help people and animals stay safe and healthy.

      This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the transmission and severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This is a rapidly evolving situation. CDC will update this guidance as needed, and as additional information becomes available. States may have their own specific requirements for these circumstances. Please check the CDC COVID-19 website periodically for updated information as well as interim guidance.

      Veterinarians should use their best clinical judgement when evaluating companion animals and considering appropriate PPE to use and precautions to take.

      Note: The scientific name of this novel coronavirus is severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). In people, the disease caused by the virus is called Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19. In the context of animal health, we refer to the disease as SARS-CoV-2.

    • Content Notes:
      What do we currently know about animals and COVID-19? -- Advise veterinary clinic staff who are sick to stay home -- Postpone elective procedures, surgeries, and non-urgent veterinary visits -- Screen pets for exposure to COVID-19 -- Know actions to take if a pet owner has suspected or confirmed COVID-19 -- Clinical signs in animals -- Personal protective equipment (PPE) -- Recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Based on Companion Animal History -- Cleaning and disinfection -- Evaluating and testing animals for SARS-CoV-2 infection -- What to do if an animal tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 -- Employees at higher risk for severe illness or outcomes -- What to tell pet owners during the COVID-19 outbreak -- Additional resources .
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