TESTING PETS FOR COVID 19
Current expert understanding is that SARS-CoV-2 (aka COVID 19) is primarily transmitted person-to-person. People have spread the virus to certain animals, but this appears to be rare.
Currently, there is no evidence that animals incidentally infected in this way spread COVID 19 to people. For these reasons the AVMA, CDC, USDA, and IDEXX DO NOT recommend routine testing for animals for COVID 19.
Because the situation is ever-evolving, public health and animal health officials may decide to test certain animals following specific criteria (see AVMA webpage for more information). In the United States, the decision to test should be made collaboratively between the attending veterinarian and local, state, and/or federal public health and animal health officials.
Veterinarians can order the IDEXX SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR™ Test after consultation with a state public health veterinarian, and after three specific criteria are met:
- Pet is living in a household with a human who has COVID-19 or has tested positive for the virus
- Pet has already been tested for more common infections, that a veterinarian has ruled out
- Pet (especially cats and ferrets) is showing clinical signs consistent with COVID-19
Leading health authorities and IDEXX veterinarians advise against testing asymptomatic pets. Since mid-February, IDEXX Reference Laboratories has tested over 5,000 specimens for the COVID-19 virus, from cats, dogs, and horses with respiratory symptoms in 17 countries. To date, IDEXX has found no positive results.