Animal Testing for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)

On April 22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) announced the first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in two pet cats. You can review additional information from the government on these cases by clicking here

My pet is sick, should it be tested?

At this time, only animals exhibiting clinical signs of illness compatible with SARS-CoV-2 infection, including respiratory symptoms, will be considered for testing. Your veterinarian must first perform a thorough examination to rule out common causes of illness based on your pet’s symptoms and prior to testing and it may be recommended for a veterinarian to consult with a state health veterinarian. Companion animals will be considered for testing only if they have been in a household with a confirmed human COVID-19 case.

How do I protect my pet?

Until we learn more about how this virus affects animals, treat pets as you would other human family members to protect them from a possible infection.

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

What to do if you are sick:

If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. Until we know more about this virus, people sick with COVID-19 should avoid contact with pets and other animals.

  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.
  • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.

If you are sick with COVID-19 and your pet becomes sick, do not take your pet to the veterinary clinic yourself. Call your veterinarian and let them know you have been sick with COVID-19. Some veterinarians may offer telemedicine consultations or other plans for seeing sick pets. Your veterinarian can evaluate your pet and determine the next steps for your pet’s treatment and care.