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Kirkwood Animal Hospital

Special Update: Your Pet and COVID-19

Dog outside a window looking into a shop

With recent news and actions focused upon containing the corona virus in humans, we wanted to address any owner concerns regarding the impact that COVID-19 might have upon your pets.


Current thinking and historically, the majority of viral epidemics are not readily transmitted from people to their dog or cat — and vice versa. Viruses tend to have a narrow spectrum of temperature ranges which enable them to live and thrive. Given dogs and cats have a body temperature 3 degrees higher than humans, this difference tends to result in diseases that are not well suited for both humans and pets.

The Statistics

Despite hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 cases among people in the world, there has been only a single possible case of COVID-19 in a dog in China — and no cats. It is important to note the dog had a low positive which means the test result is uncertain. No other canine with COVID-19 has yet been documented. So, your pet’s higher body temperature can naturally help protect them from the human COVID-19 virus.

What's the Difference Between a Virus and Bacteria?

Viruses and bacteria are from the same broad family but the different strains make them species specific. In cats, a Corona Virus (but not COVID-19) causes Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) which is fatal in cats but not transmittable to humans or dogs. In dogs, we commonly encounter STAPH infections. But the STAPH infection impacting a dog is a different strain than in humans — so cross-transmittal is not a concern.

What Should You do?

Government health agencies do not believe your pets are at risk of spreading COVID-19 or at risk of contracting COVID-19 from humans. But taking normal precautions like minimizing contact in large crowds and wiping them down after being out in public would be advisable to help protect everyone.

For You

All of us at Kirkwood take this disease seriously and recognize that taking preventative measures can help reduce the time to conquer this virus. For owners with exposure concerns, we can reschedule or postpone annual exams and accommodate visits for pets with medical problems.

Recall that pet vaccines provide protection for periods beyond the scheduled revaccination date, so your pets are not at risk even if they are a few months overdue. Also, allergy shots and the like can be given to your pets outside of the office.

Contact Us Always feel free to contact us should you have questions or concerns. Working together we can help ensure the health of your pet while minimizing the impact of COVID-19.