New guidelines on how to keep household pets safe and healthy during COVID-19

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– At least one tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York has tested positive for COVID-19 bringing more questions on how the virus spreads and what that means for our pets.

The USDA released a statement today saying the tigers likely got the virus from a zookeeper who tested positive for COVID-19. All tigers with symptoms are expected to recover.

Since, more guidelines have now been placed on how we should keep our pets safe, although this only applies to owners that are showing symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19.

The USDA released the guidelines on April 6 in response to the new tiger cases.

Here are some recommendations you should follow:

  • Restrict contact with animals just as they would with humans
  • Includes avoiding petting, sleeping with, or letting an animal lick you.
  • And if a sick person must care for a pet or be around animals, they should wash their hands before and after the interaction.

Although this case suggests a person gave the virus to the tiger, the USDA and the CDC say there has been no evidence of household pets becoming sick in the United States.

Both agencies say at this time there is also no evidence to suggest that animals, including pets or livestock, can spread the COVID-19 infection to people.

If your pet is showing symptoms, the CDC says to call your vet ahead of time to schedule an appointment and make sure they are prepared.

At that point, health and animal officials would then decide if the pet should be tested for COVID-19.

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