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Key Factors

  • This data is offered to help emergency planners who may have to think about native situations, statutory authorities, assets, agreements, and different crucial components to kind the ultimate plan for catastrophe sheltering of family pets, service animals, and assist animals throughout the pandemic.
  • Emergency managers will face many challenges pertaining to each the pandemic and a catastrophe that requires evacuation and sheltering. There aren’t any excellent options, and all methods might comprise a component of threat for SARS-CoV-2 transmission in folks.
  • Sheltering planning for folks ought to embrace concerns for animals; early planning and useful resource identification are crucial to profitable catastrophe animal sheltering.
  • Veterinary assist 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 faculties.
  • Nearly all current companion animal sheltering and veterinary medical response greatest practices will stay legitimate throughout this pandemic, and hyperlinks to this data are offered on this doc.

Planning assumptions

  • Catastrophe animal sheltering is addressed first on the native stage, with assist from group non-governmental companions and different useful resource suppliers.
  • Animal ailments and zoonotic ailments14 are vital considerations 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 threat 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 folks to animals has been documented. Based mostly on the restricted data out there up to now, the danger of animals spreading COVID-19 to folks is taken into account to be low. Folks might be able to unfold SARS-CoV-2 with out displaying signs of COVID-19, making a baseline threat for all emergency response and assist personnel in addition to catastrophe/emergency survivors.
  • Pet house owners ought to create or replace their emergency plans, together with for pets, to account for the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Offering secure sheltering choices for family pets, service animals, and assist animals and their house owners protects the security of the general public by encouraging people and households to evacuate in a well timed method.
  • CDC and different federal companies will replace steering as new data turns into out there. Emergency planners ought to monitor CDC’s COVID-19 web site and search further steering from native well being departments and state animal well being officers such because the state veterinarian.

Normal mass care concerns for native jurisdictions

Help animals2 embrace service3 and assist animals4: In accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Act, service animals have to be permitted to stay with their handlers. The Honest Housing Act additionally mandates that every one help animals stay with their house owners in housing, together with emergency sheltering.

  • Pet shelter-in-place methods could also be utilized in some incidents in accordance with native jurisdictional plans. In some instances, pets might stay sheltered of their properties with acceptable care visits not less than as soon as every day.

Issues for animal consumption and housing

Normal suggestions

  • Arrange registration and triage for folks and/or pets, service animals, and assist animals in a location that permits folks and their animals to remain not less than 6 toes away from others and that protects them from the weather.
  • Instruct workers, volunteers, and survivors of the catastrophe on necessities for everybody5 (i.e., workers, volunteers, and survivors) to put on masks, observe advisable hand hygiene practices, follow social distancing, and observe different jurisdictional tips whereas in any sort of animal sheltering facility.
    • Don’t put masks on pets. Protecting a pet’s face might hurt them.
  • Encourage workers, volunteers, and pet house owners to follow wholesome habits round pets and different animals. Comply with CDC advisable precautions for folks at elevated threat of extreme COVID-19 sickness and zoonotic ailments.
  • Jurisdictions may have a plan for managing folks unwilling to adjust to advisable practices. This may embrace 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 house owners to right away report any indicators of sickness of their animals to shelter workers or volunteers.
  • Make hand hygiene stations available. Instruct house owners to at all times wash arms with cleaning soap and water for not less than 20 seconds or to make use of a hand sanitizer containing not less than 60% alcohol earlier than getting into and after leaving an animal space.
    • Hand hygiene stations ought to have satisfactory provides of cleaning soap and water, or hand sanitizer with not less than 60% alcohol, paper towels, tissues, and no-touch trash cans.
  • House owners ought to solely deal with their very own animals. When potential, 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, house owners may not be allowed to go to pets, and jurisdictions ought to contemplate using telecommunications to permit digital audiovisual visits.
  • Each congregate cohabitated companion animal shelter ought to have veterinary medical assist to supply examinations and handle animal well being points on the shelter.
  • Employees ought to use handouts, indicators, and verbal encouragement to assist talk the necessity for wholesome behaviors round animals and social distancing of not less than 6 toes between folks, between folks and pets, and between pets from different households.
  • Discourage house owners, workers, and volunteers from consuming and ingesting in animal housing areas.
  • Discourage house owners from letting different folks deal with gadgets that go into their animal’s mouth, comparable to toys and treats.
  • Discourage sharing of things between animals from totally different households (for instance, leashes, toys, or blankets). If gadgets 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 (comparable to resort rooms) could not want a veterinary examination.

The stream chart beneath illustrates the preliminary consumption and ranges of precautions wanted for housing animals with numerous mixtures of historical past and scientific 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 toes (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 specialist. If the screening examination finds indicators that could possibly be in line with SARS-CoV-2 an infection or one other infectious illness or vital well being drawback, the animal ought to be examined by a veterinarian if a veterinarian didn’t carry out the preliminary screening examination.
  • The next scientific indicators are in line with, however not particular to, SARS-CoV-2 an infection in companion animals and will additionally signify a wide selection of infectious and non-infectious ailments:
    • Fever, lethargy
    • Coughing, issue respiration 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 toes 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, notably coughing, issue respiration, 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:6
    • Normal housing: Space for animals that don’t seem sick and shouldn’t have a recognized historical past of publicity to folks with COVID-19 (confirmed or suspected). Normal precautions are acceptable for this space.
    • Separated housing: Space for animals with a recognized historical past of publicity to folks with COVID-19 (confirmed or suspected) however which are displaying no indicators of sickness. Intermediate precautions (outlined within the graphic above) are acceptable on this zone.
    • Isolation: Space(s) for animals which will have a illness doubtlessly transmittable to folks or different animals.
  • Home animals from totally different households with elevated house (6 toes or higher) between cages, crates, or kennels when potential. When out of the enclosure, hold canine on a leash and keep 6 toes in distance from different animals and other people aside from the proprietor/relations.
  • Home cats within the largest cages out there. Elevated cage measurement has been proven to assist cut back the incidence of respiratory virus outbreaks.7
  • Co-located and animal-only companion animal shelters could have 5 or extra areas for animal housing:
    • Normal inhabitants space for canine
    • Normal inhabitants space for cats and different small pets8
    • 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 common greatest practices for veterinary medical care, precautions, private protecting gear (PPE), and disinfection will be present in the most effective follow doc on the Nationwide Mass Care Technique Website.
  • Veterinary professionals present a crucial position in emergency companion animal sheltering in offering look after animals, in addition to the essential activity of supporting an infection management, biosafety measures, and zoonotic illness prevention on the facility. Veterinarians ought to work intently 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 potential.
  • Nationwide private protecting gear (PPE) prioritization could influence the selection of PPE utilized by veterinary personnel. Veterinary professionals supporting emergency animal sheltering ought to focus on protecting measures advisable 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 means of efficient data 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 could not have the ability to be on the shelter repeatedly, having entry for video calls by means of which data and visuals will be shared might successfully increase veterinary assist. Telemedicine also can cut back the necessity for added folks 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 using telemedicine in supporting catastrophe animal sheltering.
  • Comply with greatest follow paperwork together with CDC steering 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 advised requirements for every day commentary 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 each 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 have the ability to present examinations, therapies, and isolation areas at offsite animal hospitals, lowering the variety of folks coming into shelters. Animal shelters could have isolation amenities1 and might be able to present veterinary assist as nicely.

Testing for SARS-CoV-2 in animals

  • CDC supplies steering on testing animals for SARS-CoV-2 and USDA supplies a U.S. case definition.
  • Animals that check optimistic 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 optimistic for SARS-CoV-2 ought to be managed in accordance with native and state, tribal or territorial steering at the side of CDC’s Toolkit: One Well being Strategy to Handle Companion Animals with SARS-CoV-2.

Private protecting gear and secure 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 contemplate the next for folks 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 steering for pet shops.
    • Cleaners and disinfectants ought to be saved out of attain of pets and youngsters.
  • For animals with indicators of contagious sickness, observe CDC steering 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. At all times wash your arms 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 stream chart above):
      • Put on acceptable 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 world with an EPA-registered disinfectant in accordance with the disinfectant label directions.
        • Visibly dirty surfaces ought to be cleaned earlier than disinfecting.
      • After disinfection, safely take away and eliminate PPE in accordance with domestically accepted procedures and wash arms.
      • Hold different folks and animals away from the world till disinfection is accomplished.
  • If a high-risk animal turns into sick or dies whereas within the shelter, search further steering (with session from the proprietor) from supporting veterinary personnel, native well being departments and state animal well being officers to find out explanation for dying and handle the stays.

Shelter workers responder and volunteer monitoring


1. Zoonotic ailments are these that may be transmitted between animals and people.




5. Acknowledging that some babies could not have the ability to put on or keep masks

6. The phrases common housing, separation and isolation are outlined for functions of this doc solely and don’t essentially apply to different regulatory or steering paperwork.


8. If assets allow, some emergency shelters additional separate cats from small pets comparable to rodents, rabbits, birds, and many others. as a result of the presence of cats could also be nerve-racking to a few of these animals.

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

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

11. Reviewing organizations included the American Veterinary Medical Affiliation, the Extension Catastrophe Training Community, Nationwide Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Applications/State Animal Well being Officers, and the Nationwide Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition together with a number of particular person material specialists.

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