With vaccinations for Covid-19 top of mind, Kiwi pet owners are making enquiries about whether their four-legged friends should also join the queue, but there’s absolutely no need to worry, says animal specialists and premium New Zealand pet supplement company, Hale Animal Health.
“Globally, there are very few examples of transmission from humans to animals, including to domestic dogs and cats. At the same time, there are no reports or evidence that dogs and cats can transmit the virus to people,” says Managing Director of Hale Animal Health, Leila de Koster. “With substantial research pointing to the fact that pets do not easily acquire Covid-19, nor seemingly spread it to other animals, nor develop significant disease, the best information confirms that vaccination for pets is not necessary at this point,” says Ms de Koster.
She says while infection under natural conditions appears rare, if a pet was to become infected with Covid-19 its immune system should eliminate the disease with few or no complications. “All the available evidence suggests the virus is predominantly transmitted between people. However, because the SARS-CoV-2 virus is believed to have originated in an animal, most likely a bat, some people are naturally concerned for their companion animals. “The fact that Covid-19 is unlikely to be completely eradicated also adds to anxiety for some pet owners. While there are now a tonne of studies underway around the world, all the evidence so far points to Covid-19 not being a problem for pets,” she says.
Ms de Koster says Hale, and its nationwide stockists, have been approached on this matter over recent months. With the human vaccination rollout now underway, her company has since drawn on international findings to publish ‘A Pet Owner’s Guide To Covid-19’ on its website. Hale’s research reveals the number of pet cases is extremely low compared with the number of human cases, with only 115 cats and 81 dogs testing positive for Covid-19 globally as of February this year. “It’s important to note that the very rare number of pets that have tested positive were not showing illness. Rather, they were mostly diagnosed through surveillance screening conducted in households with Covid-19 positive people. “Fortunately, of the few pets which have tested positive, most have been asymptomatic, or showed only mild clinical signs, and no pet deaths have been reported,” she says. Hale Animal Health says because it’s highly unlikely a pet will contract Covid-19, testing is also unnecessary. If a human tested positive, they should limit contact with their pet and exercise the well-established Covid-19 hygiene measures. There is no need, however, to remove pets from a dwelling during people’s isolation and recovery. “At Hale we are passionate pet owners too. We totally understand their concerns and could see this issue was causing a few to worry. By drawing on the latest and leading international research, we hope our work provides greater clarity and confidence. Afterall, a happy pet owner means a happy pet,” says Leila de Koster.
About Hale Animal Health Part-owned by New Zealand’s largest medicinal cannabis company, Helius Therapeutics, Hale launched its Vitality Plus superfood products for cats and dogs earlier this year. The natural pet supplements are now available nationwide, including in PETstock stores. Hale continues its work to develop New Zealand’s first range of cannabidiol-based (CBD) approved veterinary medicines.