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COVID-19 and Pets: Updates in Toronto, Ontario

Updated: Oct 4, 2020

I was out for a walk with a colleague today, trying to enjoy some fresh air. The streets of Toronto are pretty quiet for the weekend. Canadians are trying to self-isolate to protect themselves from getting infected by COVID-19.

As a veterinarian, we have been getting questions about whether pets could get sick. Thus far, pets have not been found to get sick from COVID-19. The coronaviridae that affect dogs and cats is an alpha type, and COVID-19 is a beta type. But what your dog or cat can be is act like a fomite or carrier to other people. If you sneeze, or cough near your pet, or you kiss your pet, your saliva can be on them, and then anyone who pets your dog, they can get sick this way. Therefore, if you become ill, then your pet should stay in isolation with you. See this article about how the dogs can be vectors for illness in people.

Edit: I was browsing LinkedIn and saw a video with some more information, so I thought I would share.

Update March 16, 2020 @ 13:45:

The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association sent out an email about how vet practices can be prepared. I’ve screen shot for your review, but also so the link to the OVMA website.

Update March 16, 2020 @ 23:00:

The College of Veterinarians of Ontario recognized that veterinarians are a non-essential service, however VCA Canada has decided that our clinic will remain open with truncated hours. Please call your veterinary clinic to get their information on open ours. To our current clients, elective procedures are best to be postponed to minimize social contact. Our doctors will be available during office hours for sick patients, but also telemedicine/phone consultation. See the CVO’s website for more information.

Update March 17, 2020 08:00:

During these dire times, if you have a valid VCPR (veterinary-client-patient relationship) then please contact your veterinary clinic for assistance.


Further to this discussion is cats and ferrets can show symptoms of illness from the novel coronavirus. Read here for more.

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