Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and Pets
Last updated: 3/25/20, 5:17pm EST
New York State has confirmed that veterinary health services are an Essential Business. Accordingly, the Animal Medical Center will continue to provide veterinary care to companion animals during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are following all recommendations to ensure the safety of our clients and staff.
We’re closely monitoring the current COVID-19 outbreak and what it means for our companion animals and our facility. We will update this page with relevant information as it becomes available.
Is the Animal Medical Center open?
YES! As an essential business, we are committed to staying open and fully operational, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we are taking all necessary precautions to maintain the safety of our facility. We are here to provide the veterinary care your pet needs, including surgery, medical care, cancer care, and vaccinations, as well as 24-hour emergency and urgent care. Please call us at (212) 838-8100 to schedule an appointment.
What can I expect from my visit to AMC?
To ensure the safety and well-being of our clients and staff, all appointments now occur without clients ever needing to enter the hospital.
- When you arrive at AMC, you’ll check-in in the lobby.
- After check-in, you and your pet can wait for the appointment in our heated outdoor reception area.
- Your doctor will call you on your personal cell phone to learn about your pet’s needs.
- When it’s time for your pet’s appointment, an AMC staff member will take your pet into the building.
- During your pet’s appointment, you are free to wait in our outdoor waiting area, in your car, at your home, or anywhere that is most comfortable to you.
- Once the appointment is complete, you will receive a call to begin the checkout process.
- Following check-out, you will be notified when your pet is ready to be released and a staff member will return your pet, along with any necessary medications, to you at the lobby door.
Please arrive at AMC with your phone fully charged to ensure you can communicate effectively with our medical staff.
What if my pet is experiencing an emergency medical condition?
We have created a 24/7 hotline for your pet emergency questions. Our team is standing by to help you determine if your pet should come to the ER and to advise you on how to prepare for your arrival at AMC.
OUR ER HOTLINE CAN BE REACHED 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK AT 212-329-8608.
What if I need to reschedule an appointment?
There is currently NO FEE for appointment cancellations. Please call us at (212) 838-8100 to reschedule.
What else is AMC doing to protect patients, clients, and staff from COVID-19?
SOCIAL DISTANCING AND LIMITED ACCESS TO OUR FACILITY
To enforce social distancing among and between clients and staff, we have taken the following measures:
- Temporarily relocated our 2nd floor waiting room to a heated outdoor reception area in our parking lot
- Limited building access to essential visits only (clients may use the 2nd floor bathroom one at a time, as enforced by AMC staff)
- Cancelled or postponed all in-person events and moved events online when possible
SANITATION & STERILIZATION
We are regularly cleaning and disinfecting our facility to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
Can COVID-19 infect companion animals?
Short Answer: It’s possible, but rare and it doesn’t cause pets to get sick.
Two dogs in Hong Kong have tested “weak positive” for COVID-19 (one on February 26th and one on March 19th), suggesting that human-to-animal transmission might be possible. However, neither dog has shown clinical signs of infection. Both dogs’ owners had previously tested positive for COVID-19, and it’s believed the dogs’ infection came from the owner.
Human health and veterinary professionals are monitoring these cases and the possibility of human-to-animal transmission closely. Subsequent testing by IDEXX Laboratories has found no positive results in thousands of canine and feline specimens. “These new test results align with the current expert understanding that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted person-to-person,” IDEXX Laboratories said in a statement.
As a precaution with any infectious disease, infected humans should isolate themselves from their pets as they would with any other family member and follow the hygiene and preventive measures described below.
Can COVID-19 be transmitted by companion animals?
Short Answer: It’s highly unlikely.
At this point, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread from an infected companion animal to a human. Even as a passive carrier of the disease (e.g. if you’re dog’s fur is contaminated after playing with an infected person), it is very unlikely that your pet will transmit COVID-19.
However, as a precaution against all infectious diseases, regular hand washing and good hygiene are recommended before and after interacting with companion animals.
How can I protect my pet?
Since there’s no vaccine for the new coronavirus, preventive steps and preparation are the best ways to protect yourself and your pet.
Practice good hygiene to stay healthy
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds and be sure to get the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Wash your hands after touching or playing with your pets. While there is no evidence at this time that pets can spread the coronavirus, washing hands after interacting with animals is always a good idea.
- When you don’t have access to soap and water, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when you aren’t feeling well.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch often.
Create an emergency plan for your pet
- Have a two-week supply of your pet’s food on hand in case you’re not able to get to the store.
- Create a list of the medications your pet takes, including dosages and administration instructions. Make sure you have enough medication for at least two weeks.
- Identify a trusted relative, friend, or sitter who will help care for your pet if you become ill and cannot care for your pet for a period of time.
- Make sure your pet is microchipped and wearing up-to-date identification tag.
If you contract COVID-19
- Restrict contact with your pet, just as you would other people.
- Avoid direct contact with pets, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.
- Avoid sneezing or coughing on or near your pet.
- If you must care for your pet while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact and wear a face mask.
What if I have other questions about COVID-19 and pets?
At the Animal Medical Center, we’re closely monitoring the progress of the COVID-19 outbreak and relaying as much information as we can from government agencies and veterinary experts to concerned pet owners.
On March 18th, we responded to your questions during a Facebook Live event with Staff Veterinarian, Dr. Ann Hohenhaus. You can watch the full video below.
If you have further questions about this rapidly evolving situation, please submit them here. We will address them as soon as we can. Please check back for more information and updates.
- Centers for Disease Control
- World Health Organization
- Centers for Disease Control | Interim Guidance for Public Health Professionals Managing People With COVID-19 in Home Care and Isolation Who Have Pets or Other Animals
- World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) | The New Coronavirus and Companion Animals – Advice for WSAVA Members
- New York State Veterinary Medical Society
- American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) | COVID-19: FAQs for Pet Owners
- Science Magazine | Quarantine the cat? Disinfect the dog? The latest advice about the coronavirus and your pets
- New York Times | Coronavirus and Your Dog: No Need to Panic Yet