This document is based on the limited available data as of the release date and general recommendations for zoonotic disease infection prevention and control. This is a rapidly evolving situation. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19. Guidance will be updated as new information becomes available. States may have their own specific requirements for these circumstances.
Who this guidance is for: Public health professionals including State Public Health Veterinarians managing people with COVID-19 in home care and isolation who have pets or other animals
This interim guidance is for public health professionals managing the home care and isolation of people with COVID-19 who have pets or other animals (including service or working animals) in the same home. The intent of this guidance is to facilitate preparedness and establish practices that can help people and animals stay safe and healthy. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 to people.
Definitions Used in this Guidance
Household animals, for the purposes of this document, refers to companion animals, including pets and service animals, that live in a home or on the premises of a home. This document does not address instances where a person with COVID-19 interacts with livestock (e.g., pigs, goats, sheep or cattle), wildlife, or other animals on their premises or through duties outside their home.
Public health veterinarian, for the purposes of this document, refers to the state public health veterinarian or designated public health official responsible for handling animal-related public health issues in their jurisdiction.
When to Contact a State Public Health Veterinarian
A state public health veterinarianpdf iconexternal icon should be contacted by public health professionals, animal health professionals, or veterinarians that have become aware of a household animal with exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and that developed a new, concerning illness that could be compatible with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Although the clinical spectrum of illness for this virus remains largely undefined in animals, clinical signs more likely to be compatible with SARS-CoV-2 infections in mammalian animals may include a combination of the following:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Nasal discharge
- Ocular discharge
State public health veterinarians should also be notified if health professionals become aware of an animal that becomes ill with symptoms compatible with SARS-CoV-2 infection and resides or is housed in a setting (e.g., shelter, prison, ship) with a person with COVID-19. Guidance with criteria for evaluating SARS-CoV-2 testing in animals is available.