CDC releases new guidelines for pets after small number test positive for COVID-19

NOW: CDC releases new guidelines for pets after small number test positive for COVID-19

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The CDC released new guidelines on animals and COVID-19 after being made aware of a small number of pets who now have the virus.

The pets had come in close contact with people who tested positive. 

The CDC says some coronavirus strains that infect animals can sometimes be spread to humans, but this is rare.

The risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people remains low.

A pug named Winston in Raleigh, North Carolina was the first dog in the U.S. to test positive for the coronavirus after three of his family members came down with the virus.

Dr. Raymond with the Medical College of Wisconsin says there's growing evidence cats and ferrets can carry and possibly get sick from COVID-19, but dogs seem to be less susceptible. 

The CDC guidelines say at this time, there is no evidence that pets play a major role in spreading coronavirus. They say treat pets as you would family members. 

Do not let pets interact with people or animals outside the household, including at dog parks. 

If a person inside the home becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets. 

"The CDC did specifically mention that if you're concerned, you probably shouldn't have your dog interacting with other dogs that might be living with humans that have COVID-19," said Dr. John Raymond, president and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin. "I know that's a hard lift, but it is a recommendation. They also recommend tight leashing so you can keep your dog away from other dogs and other people."

Even with the new CDC guidelines, Dr. Raymond is encouraging people to still rescue pets. He says he hasn't heard of any problems with adopting rescue pets from a shelter.


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