Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)


Page last updated: 04-06-2020

Overview of COVID-19

  • Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some coronaviruses affect animals and some affect people. The majority of coronaviruses stick to their own species.
  • COVID-19 was first identified in the Wuhan province of China in late 2019 and early 2020. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and international health experts do not know the exact source of the current outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • The first case of an animal testing positive for the virus in the United States was a tiger that had a respiratory illness at a zoo in New York City. To learn more, click here.
  • The CDC does not have evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 to people or that they might be a source of infection in the United States.
  • CDC is aware of a very small number of pets outside the United States reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 after close contact with people with COVID-19.
  • The CDC does not have evidence to suggest that imported animals or animal products pose a risk for spreading the 2019 novel coronavirus in the United States.
  • Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.

If you have questions about COVID-19, contact the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) by calling 2-1-1 and choosing Option 6, or emailing coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov.


Veterinarians

Health officials across the U.S. and all over the world are working hard to combat COVID-19. Veterinary professionals are receiving questions from their clients and their teams, and the TAHC is pleased to be able to share and provide credible information and resources to assist with responses to those questions.

What veterinarians need to know:

  • The betacoronavirus that causes COVID-19 is SARS-CoV-2 (formerly 2019-nCoV).
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not know the exact source of the current outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person to person.
  • The CDC is not aware of any companion animals (i.e. household cats and/or dogs) in the United States infected with SARS-CoV-2. The first case of an animal testing positive for the virus in the United States was a tiger that had a respiratory illness at a zoo in New York City. To learn more, click here.
  • The CDC is aware of a very small number of pets outside the United States reported to be infected with the virus after close contact with people with COVID-19.
  • The CDC does not have evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread SARS-CoV-2.
  • The CDC does not have evidence to suggest that imported animals or animal products pose a risk for spreading SARS-CoV-2 in the United States.
  • Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by SARS-CoV-2.

If clients have human health questions they can call the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) by calling 2-1-1 and choosing Option 6, or emailing coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov.


Livestock & COVID-19

CDC has not received any reports of livestock becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including livestock, pets, or wildlife, might be a source of COVID-19 infection in the U.S. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.

Essential Critical Infrastructure - Food and Agriculture
On March 19, 2020 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) identified the specific industries that comprise Critical Infrastructure Industries including food and agriculture. The list of those included in the critical food and agriculture infrastructure can be viewed here.

Livestock movements
There are currently no movement restrictions on livestock in the U.S. related to COVID-19.

If you live in an area impacted by a local stay-at-home order and want some extra reassurance in the event you’re asked by someone if you are part of an essential industry when conducting regular business, you can print and carry the letter from the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) and the DHS list of Critical Infrastructure Industries.


Pets & COVID-19

CDC has not received any reports of companion animals (i.e. household dogs and/or cats) becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets, livestock, or wildlife, might be a source of COVID-19 infection in the U.S. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.


Protect Livestock And Pets If You Are Sick

If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed), you should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. Although there have been no reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. This can help ensure both you and your animals stay healthy.

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

For more information visit: What to Do if You are Sick.