COVID-19 General Information:
Coronaviruses belong to the family Coronaviridae. Alpha- and beta-coronaviruses usually infect mammals, while gamma and delta coronaviruses usually infect birds and fish. Canine coronavirus, which can cause mild diarrhea and feline coronavirus, which can cause feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), are both alpha-coronaviruses. These coronaviruses are not associated with the current coronavirus outbreak. Until the appearance of SARS-Cov-2, which belongs to the beta-coronaviruses, there were only six known coronaviruses capable of infecting humans and causing respiratory disease, including the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus SARS-CoV (identified in 2002/2003) and
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus MERS-CoV (identified in 2012). SARS-Cov-2 is genetically more related to SARS-CoV than MERS-CoV, but both are beta-coronaviruses with their origins in bats. While it is not known whether COVID-19 will behave the same way as SARS and MERS, the information from both of these earlier coronaviruses can inform recommendations concerning COVID-19.
In the last few weeks, rapid progress had been made in the identification of viral etiology, isolation of infectious virus and the development of diagnostic tools. However, there are still many important questions that remain to be answered.
The most up-to-date information and advice on human infection can be found on the following
The most up-to-date information related to animal health can be found on the following website:
UPDATED AS OF MARCH 7TH, 2020
In response to this outbreak, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association [WSAVA] Scientific and One Health Committees have prepared the following list of frequently asked questions in collaboration with One Health interested individuals around the globe. We are aware of issues related to pet abandonment in China and hope that this information will be of use to veterinarians around the world in dealing with the concerns of their clients.
- Can COVID-19 infect pets?
Currently there is no evidence that companion animals can be infected with or spread COVID-19.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
- Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?
The CDC recommends the following: “You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while
you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been
reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people
sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.
When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If
you are sick with COVID-19, 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 pets and wear a facemask.” Please check for new
updates on CDC’s website.
- If my pet has been in contact with someone who is sick from COVID-19, can it spread the disease
to other people?
While we do not yet know for sure, there is no evidence that companion animals can be infected
with or spread SARS-Cov-2. We also do not know if they could get sick from this new coronavirus.
Additionally, there is currently no evidence that companion animals could be a source of infection to
people. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
- What should I do if my pet develops an unexplained illness and was around a person with
documented COVID-19 infection?
We don’t yet know if companion animals can get infected by SARS-Cov-2 or sick with COVID-19. If
your pet develops an unexplained illness and has been exposed to a person infected with COVID-19,
talk to the public health official working with the person infected with COVID-19. If your area has a
public health veterinarian, the public health official will consult with them or another appropriate
official. If the state public health veterinarian, or other public health official, advises you to take your
pet to a veterinary clinic, call your veterinary clinic before you go to let them know that you are
bringing a sick pet that has been exposed to a person infected with COVID-19. This will allow the
clinic time to prepare an isolation area. Do not take the animal to a veterinary clinic unless you are
instructed to do so by a public health official.
- What are the concerns regarding pets that have been in contact with people infected with this
While COVID-19 seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to person. Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses. Importantly, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets such as dogs and cats, can become infected with COVID-19.
Although there is no evidence that pets play a role in the epidemiology of COVID-19, strict hand hygiene shouldbe maintained by the entire clinicalteamthroughout the veterinary interaction,especially if dealing with an animal that has been in contact with an infected person.
- What should be done with pets in areas where the virus is active?
Currently there is no evidence that pets can be infected with this new coronavirus. Although there
have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, until we know more,
pet owners should avoid contact with animals they are unfamiliar with and always wash their hands
before and after they interact with animals. If owners are sick with COVID-19, they should avoid
contact with animals in their household, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and
sharing food. If they need to care for their pet or be around animals while they are sick, they should
wash their hands before and after they interact with them and wear a facemask.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
- Should veterinarians start to vaccinate dogs against canine coronavirus because of the risk of
The canine coronavirus vaccines available in some global markets are intended to protect against
enteric coronavirus infection and are NOT licensed for protection against respiratory infections.
Veterinarians should NOT use such vaccines in the face of the current outbreak thinking that there
may be some form of cross-protection against COVID-19. There is absolutely no evidence that
vaccinating dogs with commercially available vaccines will provide cross-protection against the
infection by COVID-19, since the enteric and respiratory viruses are distinctly different variants of
coronavirus. No vaccines are currently available in any market for respiratory coronavirus infection
in the dog. [Information from the WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines Group].
- What is the WSAVA’s response to reports that a dog has been ‘infected’ with COVID-19 in Hong
Reports from Hong Kong on February 28 indicated that the pet dog of an infected patient had tested “weakly positive”to COVID-19 after routine testing. On March 5, the Hong Kong SAR Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) reported that nasal, oral, rectal and fecal samples from the dog have been tested. On February 26 and 28, oral and nasal swabs were positive, while on March 2,only nasal swabs showed positive results. The rectal and fecal samples tested negative on all three occasions. Testing at both the government veterinary laboratory (AFCD) and the WHO accredited diagnostic human CoV laboratory at Hong Kong University (HKU) detected a low viral load in the nasal and oral swabs. Both laboratories used the real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method and the results indicate that there was a small quantity of COVID-19 viral RNA in the samples. It does not, however, indicate whether the samples contain intact virus particles which are infectious, or just fragments of the RNA, which are not contagious.
The dog, which is showing no relevant clinical signs, was removed from the household, which was the possible source of contamination on 26 February. Retesting was performed after the dog was put under quarantine to determine whether the dog was in fact infected orwhether its mouth and nose were being contaminated with COVID-19 virus from the household.
The AFCD’s document states that the “weak positive” result from the nasal sample taken 5 days after the dog was removed from the possible source of contamination suggests that the dog has a low-level of infection and it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission. However, there is still no evidence at this time that mammalian pet animals including dogs and cats can be a source of infection to other animals or humans.
WSAVA urges pet owners in areas where there are known human cases of COVID-19 to continue to follow the information in its Advisory, including washing their hands when interacting with their pets and, if sick, wearing face masks around them.The situation is rapidly evolving, and information will be updated as it becomes available.
We will update our Guidance as further information becomes available.
Note: WSAVA recognizes that not all recommendations will apply to all areas or all regions at all
times, depending on the epidemiological risk and risk mitigation in the area. WSAVA encourages
veterinarians to keep in close contact with, and follow the directions of, their local veterinary
If you are worried about the health of you pet please contact us: 509-448-4480, or Click to schedule an appointment.
Some of you may have already asked yourself this question, or maybe even wondered if acupuncture is a valid treatment option. I mean, it’s a little out there, right? Does it actually help? Hopefully the following post will help answer some of these questions, and give you the information you need to decide if acupuncture would fit into your pet’s already established treatment regimen.
Veterinary acupuncture has likely been around for the same amount of time as human acupuncture, which is over 1000 years! In the US, veterinary acupuncture has been practiced for several decades. There is more than one school of thought regarding how acupuncture points are chosen. Dr. Patterson was trained in the neurophysiology based method, which means the points are chosen based on the physical issues present e.g. nerve dysfunction, arthritic pain, gastrointestinal issues, etc.
As with human acupuncture, our goals with veterinary acupuncture are to decrease pain, & increase mobility and comfort in our patients. We use it to treat pain from arthritis or soft tissue injuries, and to help increase nerve function in animals that may have spinal cord diseases or neuropathies. It can also be used to treat certain kidney or digestive disorders, or in conjunction with laser therapy to help with wound healing.
Does it seem impossible to perform acupuncture on a cat or dog (or any other animal for that matter!)? After all, they would probably rather be anywhere else than an exam room getting poked with needles! Luckily those pesky needles are quite small, about the size of a human hair, and flexible, therefore many patients barely register them. We also offer our patients snacks like baby food, peanut butter, and other yummy treats to keep them occupied while the needles are being placed and stimulated. We also try to have our sessions in a non-clinical area, one that is comfortable for both the patient and owner.
Acupuncture is a treatment modality that works best when administered routinely. For example, an ideal acupuncture treatment regimen might look something like this: you and your pet come in for an initial evaluation and discussion about your main concerns and goals. This includes an appointment with the veterinarian, who will do a physical exam on your pet and determine how acupuncture may benefit your pet; the first session will also take place. Then, we schedule weekly sessions for at least 3 weeks. By that time, we will be able to determine how your pet is responding to the treatment.
As with any treatment, human or veterinary, each individual patient will respond, well, individually. While most patients are quite happy and cooperative during the acupuncture sessions, there are those who are too worried or uncomfortable to allow the treatment to occur. In that case, we will discuss other treatment options that best fit with your pet’s current status.
Acupuncture could be a wonderful adjunct to your pet’s already established treatment routine. Please feel free to call and chat with Dr. Patterson if you have any questions!
For more information, check out the links below!
Porcupines are the 3rd largest rodent in America, second only to the beaver. Porcupines can be active during the day or night. They can be found lumbering on the ground and perched high in trees – searching for leafy forage. They are slow moving herbivores with few natural predators. Cougars and fisher weasels are the only ones are known to regularly prey on porcupines. If a threat gets too close a porcupine may spin around and swing its tail at a predator. If this doesn’t do the trick, they may start to lunge backwards at the aggressor.
North American porcupines have three types of hair on their bodies. Underfur, which is short and soft. Guards hairs that give porcupines their cute fluffy appearance. Then, the infamous quills – which can be over 12 inches long. Painful going in, but the quills can be even more painful when coming out. This is due to the barbs on the tips of the quills. These tiny barbs help the quills stay fixed in flesh and drive them deeper with every movement. These barbs also render the quills four times harder to pull out once embedded.
Sticky situation. The tiny barbs (top) coating the tips of the quills from North American porcupines (bottom) make it more difficult to extract a quill from flesh, but they also help the quill penetrate the fleshAs the weather warms up and more of our pets are out and about, encounters with these prickly creatures tend to increase. If your dog or other pet has been a victim of a porcupine you should consider having a veterinarian remove the quills.
Only remove the quills if there are less than 10 and are not embedded in the mouth, throat or eyes. Be mindful that the quills can be brittle and break off still within the flesh. Due to the discomfort caused by the barbs during removal, even the sweetest dog can bite. Do not attempt to muzzle your dog – there may be quills within the mouth or airway. Another factor to consider is, quill removal may be traumatizing for some pets. If you attempt to remove quills on your own only to find Fido is not having any part of this- they can be more anxious when they come to the vet.
When you’ve discovered your pet has had an encounter with a porcupine bring them to the vet immediately. Frequently quills can penetrate through the eyelids and into the eye. If your pet attempted to bite the porcupine, quills can also be found in the gums, tongue and down the throat – which can obstruct breathing. The paws will likely have quills in them as your pet attempted to remove the quills in their face.
When they arrive at our hospital we will sedate or possibly anesthetize them and remove the quills. Sedation is required to make sure your pet is not experiencing pain during the procedure. This also allows us to completely check over the entire body and within the mouth. Despite all efforts, there is still a small chance a quill tip could be embedded below the surface of the skin. Over the next few weeks continue to monitor your pet far any signs of pain, areas of redness or swelling. A small portion of a quill may need to be removed and your pet possibly require antibiotics.
Do not assume that your pet has “learned their lesson” after a porcupine encounter. Many dogs will be treated for porcupine quills more than one time. Porcupines are solitary creatures that live in rocky dens or in trees. If an encounter occurred at your home – check under decks, crawl spaces or downed logs, these may be areas for a den. Keep your pet on a leash if not under voice command if you are in known porcupine territories. Minimizing encounters is the best way to protect your pet from the pain of quill removal. Porcupines are not aggressive and would much rather saunter up a tree to eat some leaves, not have a standoff with your dog.
The Easter holiday brings us Easter egg hunts, family, sunny spring days, and Easter lilies. The later of these joys can have a dark side. Potential fatal lilies are true lilies of the Lilium or Hemerocallis species. Examples of some of these dangerous lilies include the tiger, day, Asiatic hybrid, Japanese Show, stargazer and Western lilies – all of which are highly toxic to cats! One of the most popular of these true lilies would be the Easter lily.
Easter lilies may be beautiful to look at but they can be a serious hazard to your pet. Even small ingestions (such as 2-3 petals or leaves) – even the pollen or water from the vase – can result in severe, acute kidney failure. If your cat has ingested any part of the lily and they do not receive medical attention immediately, it can become fatal in as little as three days.
What are the signs of lily toxicity?
- Vomiting (watch for pieces of plant in the vomit)
- Decreased appetite
- Increase in urination, followed by lack of urination after 1-2 days
How do I prevent my cat from becoming ill?
If possible, do not have lilies in your home, not even as cut flowers. If you do have lilies in your house – make sure your cat cannot reach them and inform everyone in your household of the dangers lilies pose to sweet little Mittens.
My cat may have eaten some lily leaves – what do I do?
- Immediately bring your cat and the lily to your veterinarian.
- There are other species of lilies, peace and calla lilies for example, that are less toxic. However, these species can still make your pet very ill. Proper identification of the lily can help your veterinarian select a treatment plan.
- If your cat has recently ingested the plant material, and has not vomited, your veterinarian will induce vomiting. Activated charcoal will be given orally to absorb any toxin that may remain in the gut.
- The key to survival is high volumes of IV fluids – usually for 24-48 hours.
- During this time monitoring of your pet’s kidney values and urine output will be monitored.
- If treatment is successful, there are no reported long-term consequences. It’s still a good idea to monitor for any changes in urination for a time after exposure.
Be especially vigilant during the Easter season. Easter lilies may smell lovely, but they can be lethal beauties.
For more information please visit:
Brrrr! It’s cold outside! We wanted to be sure to warn of the danger warm vehicle engines can pose to cats that spend time outdoors in the winter.
As temperatures plunge this winter, cats that spend time outdoors will search for any warm place they can find. One particularly attractive site for many of these cats is the warm engine of your car. This can be a particularly dangerous place for a cat to curl up, since they can be severely injured or killed when the engine is started. Help keep your own and your neighborhood cats safe with these tips:
Keep your cat indoors
The best advice we can offer regarding your own cat is to simply to keep him indoors during the winter. This would prevent access to warm engines, with the added benefit of avoiding other dangers, including exposure, predators, moving vehicles, or injuries or disease transmission from other cats. Here are some helpful hints for keeping your cat happy indoors!
Check on your cat before taking any trips
Finding and checking on your cat before leaving is a good way to make sure they are not in your own vehicle before you leave (or anyone else’s vehicle, too!).
Give any cats that might be hiding under your car a warning
Even with your own cat safely inside, neighborhood and feral cats could still be hiding under your car. We suggest that you pound on your hood, slam the car door, or even sound your horn before you start the engine. Make sure you give them plenty of time to wiggle out of their hiding spot before you start that engine.
It’s always a great idea to take a quick look under the car to make sure no one visible under the car. You never know, you may even find a leak or notice that low tire, too!
Let’s keep everyone safe out there!