Animal Welfare

Basic Hygiene Keeps Everyone Safe – Including Cats

Lort Smith Animal Hospital is again reassuring pet owners that following basic hygiene principals will keep your pet safe from COVID-19.

A new study published on 13 May 2020 in New England Journal of Medicine, reports that in laboratory conditions, cats can transmit COVID-19 to other cats. It is important to note that the cats all cleared the virus and are well again.

“From the evidence we are seeing globally human-to-cat cases outside the laboratory are rare and isolated”, said Dr Cunliffe who is Head of Hospital at Lort Smith, adding, “there are no documented cases in which humans have become ill with COVID-19 because of contact with cats”.

Reiterating the message from leading animal health organisations worldwide, Dr Cunliffe says, “this means we need to ensure we treat our pets with respect. We need our pets now more than ever.”

Upholding basic hygiene principals is key to protecting your pet. Hand hygiene is essential before and after handling your pets, as well as their food and water bowls.

“The evidence is clear: wash your hands, and don’t kiss your pet,” says Dr Cunliffe.

Lort Smith advises that people who have tested positive to COVID-19 should avoid close contact with their pets. Where possible, have another member of the house care for the pet during this time.

Additionally ensure all people living in the household maintain good hygiene practices – including minimising direct contact to best protect animal companions.

“If you are at all worried about your pet, please call your vet,” implores Dr Cunliffe.

Lort Smith continues to offer emergency, urgent and essential care to animals. At present Lort Smith’s opening hours are 8:30am-10pm every day of the year.

What to do if you have COVID-19 or are in self-isolation

  • Keep your pet/s indoors if they have been potentially exposed to a human case.
  • Minimise contact with the pet – especially avoid close contact.
  • If possible ensure anyone who has tested positive to COVID-19 has no direct contact with the pet.
  • Maintain good hand hygiene including before and after handling any pet and their food and water bowls.

Develop a pet care plan in the event of you being hospitalised – download Lort Smith’s checklist here.