FACT OR FICTION: Can pets spread viruses?

Updated: Mar. 19, 2020 at 7:31 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Some strains of coronaviruses have been around for years, including those that can make animals sick, according to the CDC.

If there is a plus-side to self-quarantine and isolation, perhaps it's spending more time at home with your pets!

But you might be wondering if you can catch this virus- or other ones- from your cat or dog.

We took our questions here to Pet Helpers on James Island. The staff there has developed a three-level plan to help animals and the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

They are currently operating on Plan A by limiting public hours and letting in potential adopters one at a time.

"We have nearly 100 animals in the facility- cleaning is a priority here. We've definitely increased our regimen," said

Director of Fund Development Natassia Donohue.

Donohue said some parts of the country are already seeing a surge in animal surrenders; they hope that doesn't happen here.

"Right now the CDC doesn't have any significant evidence to indicate our pets can pass the virus to us or that we can pass it to them," she said.

However, if you coughed or sneezed on your pet- and got infected droplets in their fur - she said those could potentially transfer to the next person who snuggles up with the animal."It's like anything else in your home, It's like your counter tops, your clothing, your kids' clothing. You're going to take those steps to make sure you're cleaning those appropriately and doing your best to make sure they're not taking a part in spreading this virus or any other virus."

Donohue suggests bathing and wiping down your fur babies regularly, using this time to bond with your pet, get them lots of fresh air and practice training.

Questions and Answers from DVM, Dr. Meredith Jones
Questions and Answers from DVM, Dr. Meredith Jones(Pet Helpers)

And if you're financially struggling, reach out to Pet Helpers before giving up your companion animal.

"We have a pet food bank program in place where you can come in and we'll give you food your cat or dog, a week, a month. We're even doing curbside service right now to practice safe social distancing," she explained. "We are here to help you. We are anticipating there'd going to be a higher need for that pet food bank in the coming months."

They're asking donations for the pet food bank be dropped in the designated bin in the front of the building, located at 1447 Folly Road on James Island.

Right now, they are not accepting other donations such as blankets or towels just to be on the safe side.

Pet Helpers' walk-in vaccine clinics are cancelled through March.

The clinic is open for surgery appointments.

They currently have more than 100 animals that can still be adopted.

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