The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has prepared an advisorydocument offering guidance and a series of Frequently Asked Questions to helpits members when talking with pet owners concerned about the risk of infectionwith the new coronavirus (2019 n-CoV), following the outbreak in China.

It also calls on veterinarians to urge owners not to panic because it ishighly unlikely that they could contract 2019 n-CoV from their dog or cat, orthat their companion animal could transmit the virus to people or otheranimals.

Michael Lappin, Professor, Small Animal Internal Medicine,Clinical Scienes, Colorado State University, April 28, 2015

Dr Michael Lappin, chair of the WSAVA’s One Health Committee, recommends thatveterinarians tell owners to:

  • keep their companion animals with them if they are self-quarantined
  • keep cats inside
  • arrange care for any animals left at home if family or friends are hospitalised
  • contact their veterinarian immediately if they have questions or concerns.

The WSAVA’s Scientific Committee and One Health Committee have worked togetherto produce the advisory document, which confirms that there is currently noevidence that pets or other domestic animals can be infected with 2019 n-CoVor that they may be a source of infection to people. They do warn, though,that it is a ‘rapidly evolving situation’.

The advisory also cautions veterinarians against using vaccines against canineenteric coronavirus available in some global markets in the hope that they mayoffer some cross-protection against 2019-nCoV. There is no evidence for this,as the new virus is a distinctly different coronavirus variant.

WSAVA President Dr Shane Ryan said: “There is still much we don’t know about2019-CoV and, while the priority is to bring the outbreak of the infectioncaused to people under control as soon as possible, we are concerned foranimal welfare with reports of animals being abandoned or killed because theirowners fear that they might carry the virus. There is no evidence that this isnecessary and we urge our members to ensure owners follow our guidance andkeep themselves and their companion animals safe.”

The WSAVA’s advisory is available here:

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