Caught up in the turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic, isolation is clouding every human with stress. The same goes for us pet owners, who are no less than parents to our pets and have the same love and responsibility as we do for our children. Even though living with our pets 24/7 and bonding over this period is perhaps the best thing that could have happened, the variety of rules and theories surrounding pets with respect to COVID-19 is bound to confuse us further. We must understand what is right and best for our pets.
How can we keep them safe? Does coronavirus affect them, or not? What are the signs to look out for?
As of June 1st, 2020, 129k confirmed cases were identified in Illinois. With the death toll rising every day, it currently stands around more than 100k across America in number and the panic is rising along with it. As this outbreak has now become a global crisis, the Chicago Department Public Health is tracking the cases closely and using the derived data to guide the best possible response.
As the citizens of Chicago, we do not just have the responsibility to stay safe but also ensure that everyone around us remains cautious too. Each one of us pet owners must make sure that our pets are safe as well. We can start off by keeping in touch with the vets in Chicago for emergency health care needs. However, the only possible way to stay safe in the first place is by following the coronavirus guidelines in Chicago.
Pet Care During the Pandemic
With various responsibilities as citizens, COVID-19 has brought us a few more not just towards society but also our pets. To understand these responsibilities fully, here are a few questions answered.
Can I take my dog for a walk?
Taking our dog out for a walk is perhaps the most necessary part of pet care. It is not just the time for us to bond with their pet, but also for them to get the necessary fresh air and exercise for their day. We won’t have to compromise on this and can ensure their safety by following a few precautionary steps when going out for a walk:
- Avoid interaction with other people or pets outside the house.
- Walk your dog on a leash and maintain a minimum of 6 feet distance from other people and animals.
- Avoid visiting public places or dog parks that have a large number of people and dogs in the vicinity.
If you believe staying at home is much safer, then indulge your pet in interesting indoor activities such as:
- Playing tug-of-war.
- Playing treat hunt with your pet.
- Playing indoor fetch.
- Stimulating their minds with interactive toys.
- Training new tricks.
- Watching videos that excite your pet.
Can I get my pet tested for Covid-19?
It is not recommended to have your pet checked for COVID-19 under routine tests. This is because as of today, there is no evidence to support that animals can be a source of COVID-19 infection in the United States of America. As per the current data and limited information available with the health officials, the risk of the virus spreading from pets is considered to be low.
However, if your pet is unusually sick, it is best to contact your nearest vet in Chicago. To find the best vet in your area, all you need to do is visit the website of GreatVet for Chicago Metro Area and select your neighborhood using your zip code. A comprehensive list of the top-rated vets in your area will be just a call away.
If your vet thinks that your pet is a candidate for the COVID-19 test, then they will consult the state veterinarian and public health officials right away.
When should I contact the Vet?
Since routine testing is not recommended at the moment, you may want to contact the vet if you have come in contact with a COVID-19 positive person. However, it may be possible that your pet has not contracted the disease. So, unless your pet has come in direct contact with you or someone who has tested positive only then you must contact the vet right away.
Meanwhile, you must do your part by restricting contact with your pets if you are tested positive for COVID-19. This includes petting, snuggling, getting kissed or licked, and sharing food. You must also ensure good hygiene practices, considering your pet’s fur may carry the virus from various parts of your household.
Furthermore, it is highly recommended to contact your vet if your pet shows a few symptoms.
Symptoms in Pets I Should Watch
Your pet could be exposed to coronavirus from anyone in the household who has tested positive or because of other sources in the neighborhood, the key is to keep an eye open for anything which is out of the ordinary. Even though the symptoms for this illness remains largely undefined in pets, some of the clinical signs that your pet may show individually or in combination are:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
- Nasal Discharge
If your pet shows any of the above, you should, without a doubt, contact your nearest vet right away. If the health professional suspects an infection, they will contact the state public health veterinarians for the necessary diagnosis.
What Vet Services are Available to Pet Owners in Chicago
Veterinary clinics are ensuring that extra precautions are taken to operate so they can keep their doors open during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a preventive measure, most clinics are taking the pets at the door and not allowing any party within the premises. They are also ensuring social distance between every pet and their owners.
Some other precautions and protocols that are followed by the vets are:
- Appointment times are staggered.
- Cleaning and Sanitizing the clinic/hospital intensively.
- Wearing masks and gloves when meeting and handling pets.
- Delivering the prescription and medication and picking up the stool samples from the pet owners in their car or at the curbside.
- Changing the leash to that of hospital’s at the curbside when taking the pet in for treatment.
Most practices are there to help, contact them to understand the services they are currently providing to the pets of Chicago. Furthermore, several vets are providing their services online using video calling apps such as Skype, FaceTime, and other telecommunication media in the form of telemedicine.
The Kane County Animal Control Director Brett Youngsteadt informed that vets are protecting themselves as well as the animals by giving the pets baths. The employees are also washing their hands before and after touching the pets along with frequent sanitization. Furthermore, routine surgeries that can be delayed are avoided at this point of time.
Goodvets Streeterville is also taking necessary precautions during this time. They have explained in detail on their site about these steps taken.
Staff members at the clinic who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 are also advised to quarantine themselves for 14 days and not come to work for at least 19 days.
If in any doubt, the best option is to call your local vet to enquire if their services are available. n the case your local veterinarian is unavailable, please find other Best Vets in Your Area to help you during this time.
Combat COVID-19 with Your Pet
You can fight this battle with your pet by staying safe, staying at home, and being prepared for the worst to ensure the best. Keep your nearest vet’s contact information handy at all times. Make sure you keep a minimum of 3 veterinary clinics’ contact details to aid during an emergency.