Veterinary Public Health


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Contact Information
Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 288-7060
Fax (213) 481-2375
vet@ph.lacounty.gov
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Pets and COVID-19

 

microscopic image of a virus

SARS-CoV-2 is causing global human disease (COVID-19) and affecting many aspects of people's lives.  Animals and pets, both in the community and in our families, are also affected by this pandemic. 

 

Below are resources for pet owners, veterinarians and animal care and control agencies to provide information, answer questions, and deliver guidance as we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Veterinary professionals in Los Angeles County are invited to consult with our Public Health Veterinarian On Call on Mon-Fri from 8am-5pm at 213-288-7060 or send an email to vet@ph.lacounty.gov.

 

Please be aware that there is still much to learn about COVID-19 and new information is generated daily.  Be sure to check credible resources regularly to stay up-to-date on all the ways to keep yourself, your pets and those around you safe. 

 

General Information:

  COVID-19 Vaccination Information for the Public: VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and VacunateLos Angeles.com (Espaņol)

 

In Los Angeles County, veterinary practices are no longer considered healthcare sites since the on-going requirements for healthcare sites do not align well with what is needed at veterinary practices.  Veterinary facilities will now be required to follow the Health Order procedures and Cal OSHA regulations for general businesses.  The Cal OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards related to COVID-19 prevention were updated June 17, 2021 and Governor Newsom signed an executive order that allowed the new procedures to immediately go into effect.

 

It is up to each individual veterinary practice to decide when they are ready to have clients come back into the hospital.  Each facility will need to decide on their procedures related to masks and clients.  Businesses have the choice of requiring all customers to wear masks, require proof of immunization or post signs and rely on an honor system. 

 

Los Angeles County Health Officer Order: A Safer Return Together at Work and in the Community - (updated 6/15/21)

 

Cal OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Regulations - (updated 6/17/21)

 

Animal Health Alert: Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Veterinary Practice Staff - released 6.23.21

To stay up to date on emerging animal health issues, veterinary professionals are encouraged to join the Animal Health Alert Network (AHAN) to receive updates and alerts via email.  Complete the online form here or fill out the form by hand and email it to vet@ph.lacounty.gov

 

SARS-CoV-2 in Animals:

2021 Survey of Los Angeles County Veterinary Clinics - Pets and SARS-CoV-2:

In February 2021, Veterinary Public Health conducted a survey to veterinary clinics in Los Angeles County to better understand local interest in testing for SARS-CoV-2 in pets as well as to identify potential barriers to testing.   The survey had a response rate of about 25% and some of the findings include:

  • 47.4% of clinics have had 1-5 inquiries per month about SARS-CoV-2 in pets

  • 10.5% of clinics have seen an animal that they suspect had SARS-CoV-2 infection

  • 14% of clinics have recommended testing in a suspect case

  • Some of the reasons why clinics are not testing pets for SARS-CoV-2 include: Clinics not seeing any suspect cases, the cost of the SARS-CoV-2 testing, and the pet being unavailable for testing.

More testing, whether in symptomatic animals or as part of an active surveillance study would be needed to better understand and characterize pets that are infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Los Angeles County.  To view a summary of the results of the survey, please click here

 

References regarding SARS-CoV-2 in Animals pdf icon1:

Various studies of COVID-positive households across the country and internationally have found that pets in these households may become infected with SARS-CoV-2.  Cats have been shown to be especially susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and are able to transmit it to other cats. Confirming infection in pets can be challenging.  Most animals are either asymptomatic or have only mild illness, animals do not appear to shed the virus for long periods of time, and there is no commercial antibody test available to confirm SARS-CoV-2 infection in animals.  Furthermore, commercial antigen tests that are available can be expensive and a positive result in a pet does not necessarily change the recommended course of treatment.  Even though pets may contract the virus from close contact with owners that are COVID positive, research shows that pets do not play a significant role in spreading the virus to humans.  For additional reading about pets and SARS-CoV-2, please click here pdf icon1

 

Confirmed Cases of SARS-CoV-2 in Animals in the United States - USDA-APHIS  

We want to emphasize that there is still no evidence that pets play a significant role in spreading the virus in the United States.  At this time, routine testing of animals for SARS-CoV-2 is not recommended and there is no justification in taking measures against animals or pets that may compromise their welfare.

 

Feeling overwhelmed by COVID-19? You can call the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health helpline at 800-854-7771, text "LA" to 74174 any time, or visit here.         

 

Information for Pet Owners:

What You Need To Know About COVID-19 and Pets - CDC

COVID-19: Pets and Other Animals - CDC

FAQs for Pet Owners - American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

Pet Safety and COVID-19 (YouTube video 1:31) - U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Guidance for Handlers of Service and Therapy Animals - CDC

COVID-19 Recommendations for Pet Stores, Pet Distributors and Pet Breeding Facilities - CDC

COVID-19 Considerations for Animal Activities at Fairs, Shows and Other Events - CDC

SARS-CoV-2 in Animals - AVMA 

COVID-19 FAQ for Pet Owners - Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LAC DPH)

Keeping Kids and Pets Safer At Home - Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control

COVID-19 and Los Angeles County (numbers of cases, numbers of deaths) - LAC DPH

 

Information for Veterinarians/Veterinary Staff:

Toolkit: One Health Approach to Address Companion Animals with SARS-CoV-2 - CDC

What You Need To Know About COVID-19 and Pets - CDC

Interim Infection Prevention & Control Guidance for Veterinary Clinics Treating Companion Animals During the COVID-19 Response - CDC

What Veterinarians Need to Know - AVMA

FAQs for Veterinary Professionals - AVMA

COVID-19: Keeping Veterinary Teams Healthy - AVMA

Caring for patients and interacting with clients during COVID-19 - AVMA

Using telemedicine to help care for veterinary patients during COVID-19 - AVMA

Considerations for House-Call and Mobile Veterinarians During the COVID-19 Pandemic - AVMA

Case Management During COVID-19 Recovery (Flowchart) - AVMA

 

Information about Testing Animals for SARS-CoV-2

Guidance for SARS-CoV-2 Testing in Animals - CDC

Testing Animals for SARS-CoV-2 - AVMA

If you have questions or wish to discuss a suspected case of SARS-CoV-2 in an animal in Los Angeles County, please call us at 213-288-7060 or email vet@ph.lacounty.gov

 

Information for Animal Care and Control/Shelters/Rescues:

Interim Recommendations for Intake of Companion Animals from Households Where Humans with COVID-19 are Present and for Intake of Companion Animals that have Tested Positive for SARS-CoV-2 - AVMA

COVID-19 FAQ for Animal Care and Control Staff - Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Animal Services' Role in COVID-19 Support - UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program

Statements on COVID-19 - National Animal Care and Control Association (NACA)

Shelter Kit for COVID-19 - Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and Humane Society of the US

 

 

Last updated: June 25, 2021

 
Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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