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This info is offered by way of the One Well being Federal Interagency COVID-19 Coordination Group, Companion Animals1 subgroup, with contributions from federal companions. This doc was reviewed by a number of stakeholders representing veterinary drugs, state companions,2 educational establishments, and non-governmental organizations.3

What You Must Know

  • Early planning and useful resource identification are crucial to profitable catastrophe animal sheltering.
  • Sheltering planning for individuals ought to embody issues for animals.
  • Veterinary help in shelter settings requires early discussions amongst emergency managers, response companions, veterinarians, public well being officers, state animal well being officers (SAHOs), veterinary medical associations, and veterinary medical schools.
  • Social distancing and different precautionary practices amongst individuals, corresponding to carrying masks and correct hand hygiene, have the most important impression on stopping the unfold of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Nearly all present companion animal sheltering and veterinary medical response finest practices will stay legitimate throughout this pandemic, and hyperlinks to this info are offered on this doc.
  • This doc depends closely on present federal COVID-19 steerage. Please see References for extra steerage.


Planning assumptions

  • Catastrophe animal sheltering is addressed first on the native stage, with help from group non-governmental companions and different useful resource suppliers.
  • Animal illnesses and zoonotic illnesses4 are vital issues in animal catastrophe sheltering operations. An infection management in animal catastrophe sheltering operations is a frequent concern not solely associated to SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • The best danger for transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 (the illness), throughout the pandemic is person-to-person unfold. Occasional transmission from individuals to animals has been documented. Transmission from animals to individuals has not been clearly demonstrated however could also be attainable. Individuals and no less than some companion animal species could possibly unfold SARS-CoV-2 with out exhibiting signs of COVID-19, making a baseline danger for all emergency response and help personnel in addition to catastrophe/emergency survivors.
  • Pet homeowners ought to create or replace their emergency plans, together with for pets, to account for the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Offering protected sheltering choices for family pets, service animals, and help animals and their homeowners protects the security of the general public by encouraging people and households to evacuate in a well timed method.
  • CDC and different federal businesses will replace steerage as new info turns into accessible. Emergency planners ought to monitor CDC’s COVID-19 web site and search further steerage from native well being departments and state animal well being officers such because the state veterinarian.

Normal mass care issues for native jurisdictions

Help animals5 embody service6 and help animals7: In accordance with the People with Disabilities Act, service animals have to be permitted to stay with their handlers. The Truthful Housing Act additionally mandates that each one help animals stay with their homeowners in housing, together with emergency sheltering.

  • Pet shelter-in-place methods could also be utilized in some incidents in response to native jurisdictional plans. In some instances, pets may stay sheltered of their houses with applicable care visits no less than as soon as day by day.

Concerns for animal consumption and housing

Normal suggestions

  • Arrange registration and triage for individuals and/or pets, service animals, and help animals in a location that permits individuals and their animals to remain no less than six ft away from others and that protects them from the weather.
  • Instruct workers, volunteers, and survivors of the catastrophe on necessities for everybody8 (i.e., workers, volunteers, and survivors) to put on masks, comply with really useful hand hygiene practices, apply social distancing, and comply with different jurisdictional tips whereas in any kind of animal sheltering facility.
    • Don’t put masks on pets. Protecting a pet’s face may hurt them.
  • Encourage workers, volunteers, and pet homeowners to apply wholesome habits round pets and different animals. Comply with CDC really useful precautions for individuals at elevated danger of extreme COVID-19 sickness and zoonotic illnesses.
  • Jurisdictions might have a plan for managing individuals unwilling to adjust to wholesome practices. This may embody assigning safety personnel to sheltering websites.
  • Clearly talk areas and procedures for strolling/exercising canine, amassing and disposing of animal waste, and different key proprietor/animal actions.
  • Advise homeowners to instantly report any indicators of sickness of their animals to shelter workers or volunteers.
  • Make hand hygiene stations available. Instruct homeowners to all the time wash palms with cleaning soap and water for no less than 20 seconds or to make use of a hand sanitizer containing no less than 60% alcohol earlier than getting into and after leaving an animal space.
    • Hand hygiene stations ought to have ample provides of cleaning soap and water, or hand sanitizer with no less than 60% alcohol, paper towels, tissues, and no-touch trash cans.
  • Homeowners ought to solely deal with their very own animals. When attainable, households in co-located shelters ought to designate one particular person to enter the animal space to look after the animal(s) or to take a look at/return the animal(s).
  • In some instances of animal-only sheltering, homeowners may not be allowed to go to pets, and jurisdictions ought to think about the usage of telecommunications to permit digital audiovisual visits.
  • Each congregate cohabitated companion animal shelter ought to have veterinary medical help to supply examinations and tackle animal well being points on the shelter.
  • Workers ought to use handouts, indicators, and verbal encouragement to assist talk the necessity for wholesome behaviors round animals and social distancing of no less than 6 ft between individuals, between individuals and pets, and between pets from different households.
  • Discourage homeowners, workers, and volunteers from consuming and ingesting in animal housing areas.
  • Discourage homeowners from letting different individuals deal with objects that go into their animal’s mouth, corresponding to toys and treats.
  • Discourage sharing of things between animals from totally different households (for instance, leashes, toys, or blankets). If objects like leashes have to be shared, they need to be cleaned and disinfected after every use or between every animal.

Animal consumption triage and housing

The next applies to all congregate cohabitated companion animal emergency shelters.  Owned animals getting into personal sheltering (corresponding to resort rooms) might not want a veterinary examination.

The move chart beneath illustrates the preliminary consumption and ranges of precautions wanted for housing animals with numerous mixtures of historical past and medical indicators.

*If an animal has an examination that’s suggestive of a contagious illness, together with SARS-CoV-2, that animal ought to be examined by a veterinarian.

  • An epidemiologic hyperlink to a human COVID-19 case or a SARS-CoV-2 animal case is outlined as:
    • Being inside roughly 6 ft (2 meters) of both an individual with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or one other animal contaminated with SARS-CoV-2
    • Having direct contact with secretions from an individual with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 (e.g., saliva, respiratory droplets) or an animal with SARS-CoV-2 an infection
  • All animals ought to obtain a screening examination from a veterinarian, veterinary technician, or skilled animal care and dealing with specialistexterior icon. If the screening examination finds indicators that might be in keeping with SARS-CoV-2 an infection or one other infectious illness or vital well being downside, the animal ought to be examined by a veterinarian if a veterinarian didn’t carry out the preliminary screening examination.
  • The next indicators are doubtlessly in keeping with, however not particular to, SARS-CoV-2 an infection in any companion animals and will characterize a big selection of infectious and non-infectious illnesses:
    • Fever, lethargy
    • Coughing, problem respiratory or shortness of breath
    • Sneezing, nasal or ocular discharge
    • Vomiting, diarrhea
  • Animal consumption workers ought to ask the next:
    • Has the animal been uncovered to an individual with suspected or confirmed COVID-19? Publicity contains shut contact with a recognized or probably contaminated member of the family or different particular person (being inside 6 ft of the particular person, direct contact, sleeping in the identical mattress, sharing meals, kissing, snuggling, or being uncovered to sneezes or saliva).
    • Has the proprietor observed any indicators of sickness of their pet, significantly coughing, respiratory problem, sneezing, runny eyes or nostril, fever, lack of urge for food, lethargy, vomiting or diarrhea?
  • Animals ought to be assigned to one of many following housing areas:9
    • Normal housing: Space for animals that don’t seem sick and would not have a recognized historical past of publicity to individuals with COVID-19 (confirmed or suspected). Normal precautions are applicable for this space.
    • Separated housing: Space for animals with a recognized historical past of publicity to individuals with COVID-19 (confirmed or suspected) however which might be exhibiting no indicators of sickness. Intermediate precautions (outlined within the graphic above) are applicable on this zone.
    • Isolation: Space(s) for animals which will have a illness doubtlessly transmittable to individuals or different animals.
  • Home animals from totally different households with elevated area (6 ft or higher) between cages, crates, or kennels when attainable. When out of the enclosure, preserve canine on a leash and keep 6 ft in distance from different animals and other people aside from the proprietor/members of the family.
  • Home cats within the largest cages accessible. Elevated cage measurement has been proven to assist cut back the incidence of respiratory virus outbreaks.10
  • Co-located and animal-only companion animal shelters might have 5 or extra areas for animal housing:
    • Normal inhabitants space for canine
    • Normal inhabitants space for cats and different small pets11
    • Separation space for canine (if wanted)
    • Separation space for cats and different small pets (if wanted)
    • Isolation space(s) as vital

Veterinary medical care

  • Data on normal finest practices for veterinary medical care, precautions, private protecting gear (PPE), and disinfection may be present in the very best apply doc on the Nationwide Mass Care Technique Website.exterior icon
  • Veterinary professionals present a crucial function in emergency companion animal sheltering in offering look after animals, in addition to the essential process of supporting an infection management, biosafety measures, and zoonotic illness prevention on the facility. Veterinarians ought to work carefully with state animal well being and native/state public well being officers in planning operational practices of an infection management and biosecurity. Group veterinary professionals ought to be built-in into the planning course of for emergency animal sheltering as quickly as attainable.
  • Nationwide private protecting gear (PPE) prioritization might impression the selection of PPE utilized by veterinary personnel. Veterinary professionals supporting emergency animal sheltering ought to talk about protecting measures really useful on this doc with native public well being officers and decide particular jurisdictional insurance policies on PPE, PPE availability, and an infection mitigating practices.
  • Throughout all disasters and particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s crucial to take care of continuity of veterinary care by way of efficient information and communication amongst veterinary workers supporting the emergency animal shelter(s).
  • Use telemedicine, or digital veterinary visits, as an adjunct to direct examination.
    • Whereas veterinarians might not be capable to be on the shelter repeatedly, having entry for video calls by way of which info and visuals may be shared may successfully develop veterinary help. Telemedicine also can cut back the necessity for added individuals to be onsite, doubtlessly lowering the danger of SARS-CoV-2 transmission on the location.
    • Native planners ought to request enter from their state veterinary medical affiliation on the usage of telemedicine in supporting catastrophe animal sheltering.
  • Comply with finest apply paperwork together with CDC steerage on zoonoses prevention in emergency animal sheltering. No particular adjustments in preventive care ought to be made for the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The next are recommended requirements for day by day statement and examination:
    • Guarantee that there’s a system for employees and volunteers to report abnormalities in all animals associated to consuming, ingesting, urination, defecation, alertness, or different observations they make whereas caring for the animals every day.
    • A veterinary technician/assistant or skilled animal care and dealing with specialist ought to observe each animal day by day and report any abnormalities to the attending veterinarian(s).
    • Irregular findings ought to lead to a veterinary examination or telemedicine session.
  • Veterinarians can also be capable to present examinations, therapies, and isolation areas at offsite animal hospitals, lowering the variety of individuals coming into shelters. Animal shelters might have isolation amenities[1] and could possibly present veterinary help as nicely.

Testing for SARS-CoV-2 in animals

  • CDC gives steerage on testing animals for SARS-CoV-2 and a USDA gives a U.S. case definition.pdf icon
  • Animals that check constructive for SARS-CoV-2 ought to be reported to state public well being (e.g., the state public well being veterinarian) and state animal well being officers (e.g., the state veterinarian).
  • Animals that check constructive for SARS-CoV-2 ought to be managed in response to native and state, tribal or territorial steerage along with CDC’s Toolkit: One Well being Strategy to Tackle Companion Animals with SARS-CoV-2.

Private protecting gear and protected behaviors

  • Animal sheltering planners and veterinarians ought to seek the advice of with native or state public well being officers on jurisdictional-specific PPE suggestions and think about the next for individuals in touch with:

Cleansing and disinfection of premises

  • For animals with no indicators of contagious sickness, use cleansing and disinfection practices as described in CDC steerage for pet shops.
    • Cleaners and disinfectants ought to be saved out of attain of pets and youngsters.
  • For animals with indicators of contagious sickness, comply with CDC steerage for veterinary clinics:
    • Use gloves when dealing with the pet’s dishes, toys, or bedding and when cleansing up urine, feces, or vomit. Throw out gloves and place waste materials or litterbox waste in a sealed bag earlier than throwing it away in a garbage can lined with a trash bag. All the time wash your palms with cleaning soap and water for 20 seconds instantly after cleansing up after pets.
    • For cleansing up physique fluids (e.g., urine, feces, blood, saliva, vomit) from high-risk animals (outlined within the move chart above):
      • Put on applicable PPE.
      • Include the urine, feces, blood, saliva, or vomit with absorbent materials (e.g., paper towels, sawdust, or cat litter) and choose up the absorbent materials and bodily fluids and seal in a leak-proof plastic bag.
      • Clear and disinfect the realm with an EPA-registered disinfectantexterior icon in response to the disinfectant label directions.
        • Visibly dirty surfaces ought to be cleaned earlier than disinfecting.
      • After disinfection, safely take away and eliminate PPE in response to regionally accepted procedures and wash palms.
      • Preserve different individuals and animals away from the realm till disinfection is accomplished.
  • If a high-risk animal turns into sick or dies whereas within the shelter, search further steerage (with session from the proprietor) from supporting veterinary personnel, native well being departments and state animal well being officers to find out reason for loss of life and handle the stays.

Shelter workers responder and volunteer monitoring


1. For functions of this doc, “companion animals” usually refers to family pets and help animals, together with service and help animals.

2. For functions of this doc, references to state companions apply equally to territories and Tribal Nations.

3. Reviewing organizations included the American Veterinary Medical Affiliationexterior icon, the Extension Catastrophe Training Communityexterior icon, Nationwide Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Packagesexterior icon/State Animal Well being Officers, and the Nationwide Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition together with a number of particular person material consultants.

4. Zoonotic illnesses are these that may be transmitted between animals and people.

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8. Acknowledging that some young children might not be capable to put on or keep masks
9. The phrases normal housing, separation and isolation are outlined for functions of this doc solely and don’t essentially apply to different regulatory or steerage paperwork.

10. icon

11. If assets allow, some emergency shelters additional separate cats from small pets corresponding to rodents, rabbits, birds, and so on. as a result of the presence of cats could also be demanding to a few of these animals.

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