COVID-19 Recommendations for Pet Stores, Pet Distributors, and Pet Breeding Facilities

Summary of Recent Changes

Revisions were made on June 30, 2020 to reflect the following:

Recommendations were added for establishing an animal health and disease management plan specific to the facility, monitoring animals in store daily for signs of illness, and separating sick animals.

Enhanced precautions were added for introducing new animals or groups of animals to a facility. These replace the previous recommendation to consider a 2-week quarantine period.

What you need to know?

Worldwide, a small number of animals, including pets, have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, usually after having close contact with people with COVID-19.

Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading SARS-CoV-2 to people is considered to be low.

Not recommend euthanasia of animals that test positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Simple steps that pet stores, pet distribution facilities, and breeding facilities can take to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 spreading in facilities include the following:

  • Encouraging workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Encouraging people within the facility to wear cloth face coverings and practice hand hygiene.
  • Increasing the distance between workers, customers, or visitors, and animals within the facility.
  • Regular cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces.

Eecommendation: pet stores, pet distribution facilities, and pet breeding facilities act in accordance with state and local jurisdictional guidance when considering reopening or continuing operations.

Currently, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to people. There are aware of a small number of animals worldwide, including cats, dogs, mink, and lions, reported external icon to be infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  These infections usually occur after close contact with people with known COVID-19. It is possible that other common small mammal pets (such as guinea pigs, rabbits, gerbils, chinchillas, sugar gliders, rats, mice, etc.) could get infected with SARS-CoV-2. Other animals sold in pet stores including, birds, reptiles, fish, and insects do not appear to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection.  Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by the virus that causes COVID-19 and the role animals may play in the spread of the virus among people.

What to do if an animal in a pet store, pet distribution facility, or pet breeding facility is suspected to have SARS-CoV-2 infection

Routine testing of companion animals for SARS-CoV-2 is currently not recommended. Animal testing for SARS-CoV-2 is available for mammalian species in certain situations; testing is not currently available for amphibians, reptiles, fish, or birds. Any facility that suspects a sick animal may be infected with SARS-CoV-2 should consult with their facility veterinarian. If the veterinarian suspects that the animal may be infected with SARS-CoV-2, they should contact their State Public Health Veterinarian (SPHV)pdf iconexternal icon or  State Animal Health Official (SAHO)external icon immediately.  After other common causes of respiratory and gastrointestinal disease are ruled out, the SPHV and/or SAHO will engage national animal health and public health officials to decide whether SARS-CoV-2 testing is warranted, based on current guidance for Evaluating and Testing Companion Animals for SARS-CoV-2.

If an animal is suspected to have SARS-CoV-2 infection, consult with a veterinarian to ensure that the animal is handled safely and received medical care if needed. The animal should be isolated and not have contact with people or other animals in the facility. Workers at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 should avoid contact with the sick animal.

Follow established recommendations for use of personal protective equipment (PPE) based on animal history.

Workers should wear gloves, face mask, and goggles or face shield when working near sick animals.

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