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How to protect your pet during the coronavirus outbreak

Local veterinarians say our pets need to social distance too.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Veterinarians at Kimberly Crest Animal Hospital are taking extra precautions when it comes to their patients. 

They are doing curb side work. They will come get your pet out of the car for you and bring them inside.

"We are having a technician come out with new gloves, a clean leash and a mask," Dr. Jake Taylor said. 

 No one is allowed inside except animals and employees, but this isn't for animal safety, it's for human safety. 

Dr. Taylor told News 8 that the COVID-19 virus can be found in pet's noses and mouths, but it wouldn't be classified as an infection, because it won't make the cat or dog sick.

"There have been no reported cases of dogs being symptomatic of coronavirus in the United States," Dr. Taylor said."If somebody was sick with coronavirus, and they were to transmit it to their pet by petting them or oral transmission, their pet can actually carry the virus and potentially serve as a source of infection."

Dr. Taylor said professionals don't know if animals can transmit COVID-19 to humans, but the virus particles can live on the pet. He says they do not know how long the particles can stay on the animal. 

"They could potentially be a source of transmission," Taylor said.

Dr. Taylor recommends treating your pet like another family member and social distancing if you feel sick.

"If they are interacting with their pet, that pet shouldn't go and lick somebody else in the houses face, just incase they could be carrying the virus," Taylor said. 

Dr. Taylor said it is safe to walk with your pet outside, as long as you social distance and keep your pet away from other pets as well.

He said that veterinarians have seen an increase in medicine and pet food purchases, but the have no experienced any shortages.

Veterinarians also don't have the same shortage in personal protective equipment (PPE) like human health care workers do.

"They may have to throw away a gown, a pair of gloves, a mask, where we are able to potentially sterilize that equipment for other patients, because we aren’t dealing with coronavirus effecting our patients," Dr. Taylor said.

Dr. Taylor said vets at Kimberly Crest are recommending you only bring your pet to the office if it is serious, limiting routine checkups and procedures.