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Covid-19 Update

May 5, 2020

Dear valued Middlebranch client family,

In light of the recent COVID-19-positive pets in the United States, and especially so close to home in New York State, we would like to share some important information on our current understanding of COVID-19 and companion animals as well as what you can do to best help your companions.

 Current understanding of COVID-19 in cats and dogs:

As COVID-19 is an emerging infectious disease, it is important to understand that we have limited information on the virus.  Based on the findings of the CDC, USDA, FDA, WHO, OIE, and AVMA, this is summary of current knowledge:

  • We believe the risk of companion animals spreading COVID-19 to people and other animals is very low. 
  • Although a few pets have tested positive for COVID, we believe their risk of getting COVID to be relatively low.  However, we do recommend isolating pets from known infected and ill people.
  • It appears that cats, ferrets, and certain hamsters may be more prone to contracting COVID.
        -  For research and validation purposes, thousands of canine and feline samples were tested for COVID with special veterinary tests. All of these were negative.
        -  2 cats in NY were positive and had mild symptoms. These cases were handled by veterinarians and followed the government-recommended protocols.
        -  The felines in the Bronx Zoo were also carefully handled by veterinarians and followed government guidelines.
        -  The pug in North Carolina is an unconfirmed case. The samples were taken by a research group and this animal was reportedly not seen by a veterinarian. To our knowledge the proper government protocols were not followed. 
  • We recommend following social distancing with your pets as well.  
         -  We have seen an increase in dog fight cases lately. 
         -  This means keeping your dog on leash and away from other dogs.  
         -  We do not recommend going to dog parks at this time.
         -  If someone wants to pet your dog, they are likely too close to you! 
  • We are not currently recommending routine screening or testing of pets for.  If you have concerns about your pet, please call us to discuss.  If we feel a pet should be tested, we must receive approval from the state.  
  • There is currently no evidence that animals can carry the virus on their fur.  However, it is best to practice increased hand hygiene around pets. 

What you can do to protect your animals:

  • If you or someone in your household is ill, it is best to also isolate from your pets and have another household member care for them. If this is not an option, wear a mask around your pet and wash your hands before you feed or interact with them. We know it would be so difficult to be separated from our pets, but it is the best way to prevent potential spread to them! 
  • Make arrangements for the care of your pet if you become ill and can no longer care for them.  It is best for another household member to care for the pet. If this is not an option, try to make arrangements now with another individual, or with a boarding facility.  
         -  Make sure your pets are up to date on their core vaccines (Rabies, Distemper combo vaccines, etc).  Call us if updates are needed.  
         -  Have a copy of your pet’s medical record and vaccines.  Call us for a printed or digital copy of your records.
         -  Have a written consent form prepared to allow another person to make medical and financial decisions in case your pet needs medical care. 
         -  Make sure to have at least two weeks’ worth of food and medicine available for your pet. 

Good resources for animals and COVID:

Finally, please do not hesitate to call the office at 845-278-8000 or email us at with any questions or concerns.  

We are open and are here to help you and your pets.  We are experiencing increased call volume, so please keep trying if you get a busy signal.  As many of you know, we are using a curbside approach to appointments and we are using gowns, gloves, and masks to handle your pets. 

Be well and be safe!  

The Doctors and Staff of Middlebranch Veterinary