COVID-19 Animals in Canada
CVMA-ACMV

Animals in Canada

Updated May 12, 2020

Information on COVID-19 and Animals in Canada can be found on the Government of Canada’s website (Latest CFIA information for consumers on food and animal health – COVID-19). Please consult this website frequently as information will be updated as it becomes available.

Risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people

The current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human-to-human transmission. According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, there is no evidence to suggest that animals infected by humans are playing a role in the spread of this disease. This is an area that continues to be studied. 


Pets and COVID-19

There have been several reports of infected humans spreading the virus to their pet dog or cat. It is still not clear how often this happens and under what circumstances. From the limited information available, it appears that some animals can get sick. A small number of laboratory studies suggest that cats, dogs, ferrets and hamsters can be infected with COVID-19.

How to keep your pets safe

It is important to remember that pets are not the source of the virus but are getting the virus from people (human-to-animal transmission). Pet owners should abide by the following recommendations if they:

In these circumstances:

  • avoid close contact with animals
    • do not:
      • let them lick you
      • snuggle or kiss them
      • share food with them
      • let them sit on your lap
      • let them sleep in your bed
  • practise good hygiene
    • wash your hands often, especially before and after touching animals, their food and supplies
    • avoid coughing and sneezing on your animals
    • avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • if possible, have another member of your household care for your animals
    • if this is not possible, always practise good hygiene, as noted above
  • restrict your animal's contact with other people and animals outside the household until your illness is resolved or you are no longer required by the public health authority to quarantine (self-isolate), approximately 14 days
    • keep your cats indoors at all times
    • keep your dogs on a leash or within a private fenced area when you take them outside to go to the bathroom

Pets contribute to our overall happiness and well-being, especially in times of stress. If you have no symptoms of COVID-19 and are not self-isolating, taking walks with your dog or spending time with your pet can help keep both you and your pet healthy.

Caring for exposed animals

Pets are not thought to be playing an important role in the spread of this disease. However, if you are caring for a pet that has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, it is recommended that precautions be taken for 14 days after the last possible exposure to the human case:

If possible, the animal should remain in their own home in order to minimize contact with any new people, animals or environments. 

An animal may need to be moved temporarily to a new location if the owner lives alone and needs to be hospitalized, such as to a:

  • clinic
  • shelter
  • new household

In these cases, the animal should be confined to one area in order to minimize contact with other people and animals.

Individuals at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness should avoid being temporary caregivers to exposed animals.


Livestock and COVID-19

To date, there have not been any reports of livestock being infected or getting sick with COVID-19. Early information from a small number of studies suggests pigs, chickens and ducks are not susceptible to the virus. The susceptibility of other livestock species is currently unknown. This is an area that continues to be studied and more information is anticipated.

How to protect your livestock

Producers should have business continuity plans to deal with the COVID-19 situation. Industry associations could be a helpful resource for farmers as they develop or revise their business continuity plans.

Livestock producers should follow normal biosecurity measures as always, particularly if they:

Producers should limit access to their premises of all non-essential people and specifically exclude people who:

  • have travelled abroad in the last 14 days
  • are ill, especially with symptoms of COVID-19
  • have been in close prolonged contact with a confirmed or suspected case in the last 14 days

Livestock producers should consult with the local public health authority regarding workers without symptoms (asymptomatic) who have had close prolonged contact with a COVID-19 case, or people with symptoms of COVID-19.

If possible, have another person care for your animals while you are sick or self-isolating. If this is not possible, ensure you follow basic infection prevention and control measures:

  • practise good respiratory etiquette
  • minimize your direct contact with animals 
  • put on clean clothes before going out to the barn
  • always wash your hands before and after touching animals, their food and supplies

These measures are:

  • recommended as a precaution
  • basic practices to prevent transmission of diseases between humans and animals

If you have concerns, seek professional advice from your veterinarian or a local public health professional who can help to answer your questions.

For more information regarding on-farm disease prevention, producers are encouraged to consult the:


Tests for COVID-19 in animals

Testing animals for COVID-19 is generally not recommended, as the virus is mainly spread from person-to-person and not through animal contact.

If your animal develops illness following exposure to a COVID-19 case, or person with COVID-19 symptoms, call your veterinarian so they can:

  • assess the situation and determine if your animal needs to be seen
  • help determine if your animal has another more common disease or condition

Vaccine against COVID-19 for animals

Currently, there are no licensed commercial vaccines against COVID-19 available in Canada for animals. There is no evidence that vaccinating animals with commercially available vaccines for other coronaviruses will provide cross-protection against COVID-19.


Animals recently imported from affected areas

All animals entering Canada must meet import requirements set out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The World Organisation for Animal Health does not recommend COVID-19 related trade restrictions for animals. 

However, broad travel restrictions are currently in place to limit non-essential travel. Individuals and rescue organizations importing rescue animals are subject to these travel restrictions and are considered under non-essential travel. Therefore, the importation of rescue dogs, cats and other animals should be postponed at this time.


Availability of animal health products in relation to COVID-19

The Canadian Animal Health Institute, working with its members and global affiliates, provides updates on any shortages, disruptions or delays in production for animal health products.


Additional information and guidance for veterinarians

A list of frequently asked questions for veterinarians on COVID-19 and animals is available on the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association COVID-19 website.


COVID-19 and Animals Held in Zoos 

Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) have been impacted by COVID-19 in several ways. This notice from CAZA describes the organization and the current situation related to COVID-19. 


COVID-19 and Animals in Shelters and Shelter Medicine: Resource

Shelter medicine is a unique veterinary specialty and the impact of COVID-19 has resulted in several changes to fundamental programs that may have long lasting effects on animal welfare. As restrictions begin to ease, shelters will need resources and guidelines for a safe and consistent return to programing. To address this need, the Ontario Shelter Medicine Association (OSMA), Association Vétérinaire Québécoise de Médecine de Refuge (AVQMR), and Humane Canada have launched a COVID-19 resource for Canadian shelters. The organizations have indicated that the site will be updated regularly to ensure it stays relevant. Initiatives such as the new Shelter Outreach Program (Toronto Humane Society) will help in the safe re-introduction of animal care at shelters. 

Documents

DateDocument
07-07-2020SARS-CoV-2, Masks and Fomites
06-30-2020Weekly COVID Impact Tracker - Week Nine
06-26-2020Epidemiology & Clinical Management of COVID-19: Update 31
06-26-2020Recorded Webinar: CVMA’s Veterinary Townhall Series: Post COVID-19 Reopening & Recovery – the Business Realities of Running a Veterinary Hospital (Week 8)
06-26-2020RAPID QUALITATIVE RISK ASSESSMENT: SARS Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Farmed Mink
06-26-2020UPDATED: COVID-19 and Animals FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR VETERINARIANS
06-22-2020Recorded Webinar: CVMA’s Veterinary Townhall Series: A Canadian Update, a Review of SARS-CoV-2 in Animals, Clinic Precautions, & an Industry Update (Week 7)
06-19-2020Next Round of COVID-19 Odds and Ends
06-18-2020Canadian Veterinary Industry Visitation Guidelines
06-18-2020Reopening Post COVID-19 FAQs
06-15-2020Weekly COVID Impact Tracker - Week Eight
06-09-2020Questions & Answers: Legal Perspectives & Practice Management During COVID-19 (CVMA’s Veterinary Townhall Series Week 5)
06-06-2020Veterinary COVID-19 Infection Control Q&A
06-06-2020CVMA COVID-19 Survey Results
06-05-2020COVID-19 Scent-Detection Dogs
06-05-2020Recorded Webinar: CVMA’s Veterinary Townhall Series: A COVID-19 in Animals Update and Practical Advice for Clinics (Week 6)
06-04-2020COVID-19 Cat: Minnesota
06-04-2020Risk mitigation tool for workplaces/businesses operating during the COVID-19 pandemic
06-04-2020COVID-19: New requirements for people entering Canada
06-04-2020Weekly COVID Impact Tracker - Week Seven
06-03-2020More Dutch Mink with COVID-19
06-02-2020New Feline SARS-CoV-2 Experimental Infection Study
05-29-2020More COVID-19 Odds and Ends
05-29-2020N95 Masks with Exhalation Valves, Part 2
05-29-2020Presentation Slides: A Physician’s Viewpoint on COVID-19: Lessons Learned on the Front Lines at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto
05-29-2020Recorded Webinar - A Physician’s Viewpoint on COVID-19: Lessons Learned on the Front Lines at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto
05-28-2020Minister Ng Announces Hotline To Provide Small Businesses In Need With Financial Planning Advice Amid COVID-19
05-28-2020Weekly COVID Impact Tracker - Week Six
05-28-2020Veterinary Clinic Staff Cohorting
05-28-2020Recorded Webinar: CVMA’s Veterinary Townhall Series Week 5: Legal Perspectives and Practice Management During COVID-19
05-27-20208 Domains of Well-Being ... COVID-19 Style! Week 8: Spiritual Well-Being
05-27-2020Guidelines to Mitigate the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Livestock Production and Animal Health
05-26-2020Dutch Mink Farm COVID-19 Update
05-25-2020CVMA In Partnership With Scotiabank Is Here To Support You And Your Business
05-25-20208 Domains of Well-Being ... COVID-19 Style! Week 7: Occupational Well-Being
05-25-2020Recorded Webinar: CVMA’s Veterinary Townhall Series: Recovering from COVID – What this Means for Your Practice (Week Four)
05-25-2020Mental Health Services At Your Fingertips – A Timely Reminder
05-25-2020Weekly COVID Impact Tracker - Week Five
05-21-2020A Physician’s Viewpoint on COVID-19: Lessons Learned on the Front Lines at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto (May 28)
05-20-2020Suspected Mink-to-Human Transmission of SARS-CoV-2
05-20-2020COVID-19 Is Affecting Our Lives in Almost Every Way, Including How We Care For Our Pets (video)
05-19-2020Dogs, Cats, Mink: A Dutch Menagerie of SARS-CoV-2 Cases
05-15-2020COVID-19 in Animals … A Few Updates
05-14-2020Weekly COVID Impact Tracker - Week Four
05-14-2020COVID-19 Experimental Infection in Cats
05-14-2020Recorded Webinar: CVMA’s Veterinary Townhall Series - SARS-CoV-2 in Animals, Recovery Planning, and Industry Relationships (Week Three)
05-13-2020Recorded Webinar: CVMA’s Veterinary Townhall Series - An Update on COVID-19 in Animals & a Look Ahead at Social Distancing During Recovery (Week Two)
05-13-20208 Domains of Well-Being ... COVID-19 Style! Week 6
05-13-2020Rapid Qualitative Risk Assessment: SARS Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Companion Animals
05-12-2020Infection and Infection Control During COVID-19 - Information for Canadian Animal Shelters (Dr. Scott Weese Webinar, May 15)
05-12-2020WVAC2020: Closing Event - May 15, 2020 - COVID-19 LIVE Panel Session (Free Registration)
05-12-2020Occupational Exposure Risks with COVID-19
05-11-2020WHO Academy’s New COVID-19 Mobile Learning App
05-11-2020Update: Interim Guidance for Laboratories Testing Animals for SARS-CoV-2
05-11-2020CVMA’s Veterinary Townhall Series: SARS-CoV-2 in Animals, Recovery Planning, and Industry Relationships (Week Three)
05-11-2020The Impact of COVID-19 on Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA)
05-11-2020Weekly COVID Impact Tracker - Week Three
05-11-2020The New Normal: Getting Back to Work During the Pandemic (HRdownlaods webinar - May 21)
05-08-2020AAFC - Workplace Guidance for Sector Employers and Employees
05-08-2020WVA - COVID-19 LIVE Panel Session
05-08-2020COVID-19 in a cat: Spain
05-08-20208 Domains of Well-Being ... COVID-19 Style! Week 5
05-07-2020Scott Weese COVID-19 Webinar for Canadian Shelters May 15 - Pre-Webinar Survey
05-07-2020The CVMA Understands The Concerns You Have About Your Animals During This Challenging Time (video)
05-07-2020CAHI COVID-19 in Companion Animals Seminar - A CAHI Information-Sharing Webinar
05-07-2020Council of Chief Veterinary Officers Position Statement: Testing of Animals for SARS-CoV-2
05-07-2020Interim Guidance for Laboratories Testing Animals for SARS-CoV-2
05-06-2020Weekly COVID Impact Tracker - Week Two
05-06-2020Looking Towards Expanding Veterinary Care During COVID-19: Ontario
05-06-2020Recorded Webinar: CVMA’s Veterinary Townhall Series – Navigating through COVID-19 (Week One)
05-06-2020Weekly COVID Impact Tracker - Week One
05-05-2020Webinar - Winning at the Long Game: Workplace Mental Health Policies are the Way Forward (May 8)
05-04-2020NEW! COVID-19 and Animals - Frequently Asked Questions for Veterinarians
05-04-2020CVMA’s Veterinary Townhall Series – An Update on COVID-19 in Animals & a Look Ahead at Social Distancing During Recovery - Week 2
05-01-20208 Domains of Well-Being ... COVID-19 Style! Week 3
05-01-2020COVID-19 in animals: Odds and ends
05-01-2020COVID-19 and Veterinary Dentistry
05-01-2020RVTTC Open Letter to Pet Owners (video)
05-01-20208 Domains of Well-Being ... COVID-19 Style! Week 4
04-30-2020Curated COVID-19 Resources and Webinars - University of Toronto
04-30-2020Companion Animals and COVID-19: A COVID-19 Response Information Sharing Webinar (May 1)
04-30-2020WHO Survey on Health and Safety of Health Workers in COVID-19
04-29-2020COVID-19 and endangered animals
04-28-2020COVID-19 modelling and the impact of releasing cats
04-26-2020COVID-19 in mink: The Netherlands
04-24-2020Pets and COVID-19 fears
04-24-2020Practical ways to help vets during COVID-19
04-23-2020Recommendations for Shelter Veterinarians: Testing for COVID-19
04-23-2020COVID-19 - Recommendations for Heartworm Testing and Prescribing Heartworm Preventives for Dogs in Ontario
04-22-2020COVID-19 in a lion, Bronx Zoo
04-22-2020COVID-19 and cats: Update on lion and pet cats in New York
04-21-2020COVID-19 CAHI Information Sharing Webinar Resources (April 9, 2020)
04-19-2020COVID-19 infected cats: New York
04-18-2020New COVID-19 Research Updates
04-17-2020COVID-19: FAQs for Pet Owners
04-17-2020Merck Animal Health Sponsors IMLocum and Gives Clinics Access to their Services Free of Charge until June 30th, 2020
04-17-2020COVID-19 Telemedicine Q&As
04-16-2020Spay/neuter and TNR During COVID-19: Information for Canadian Animal Shelters (April 17)
04-16-2020Steps to help prevent the next COVID-19: Proposed changes to animal farming rules in China
04-16-2020Webinar: COVID-19 and Companion Animals – What We Know Today (April 17)
04-16-20208 Domains of Well-Being ... COVID-19 Style! Week 2
04-15-2020A rapid review of evidence of infection of pets and livestock with humanassociated coronavirus diseases, SARS, MERS, and COVID-19, and evidence of the fomite potential of pets and livestock
04-15-2020Recorded Webinar: Navigating Financial Implications of the COVID-19 Crisis on Veterinary Medicine in Canada
04-15-2020Keeping Canadians and Workers in the Food Supply Chain Safe
04-15-2020COVID-19 and Animals - Frequently Asked Questions for Veterinarians
04-15-2020Ontario Shelter Medicine Association - Q&A: Can My Pet Catch or Transmit the COVID-19 Virus?
04-15-2020Animal Welfare During a Pandemic: Drs. Scott Weese & Ian Sandler discuss the Health & Well-Being of Pets, & how Veterinary Services are Adapting to the Ever-Evolving Pandemic
04-14-2020SARS-CoV-2 in animals: To test or not to test
04-14-2020SARS-CoV-2 and a canine origin? Seems unlikely
04-14-2020COVID-19 Recorded Webinar: What is Veterinary Telemedicine? A Q&A Session
04-09-20208 Domains of Well-Being ... COVID-19 Style!
04-09-2020AVMA - COVID-19 Social Tools
04-09-2020COVID-19: Business Contingency Plan
04-09-2020COVID-19: Work Refusal
04-09-2020COVID-19: Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers - Excel Workbook
04-09-20202nd SARS-Cov-2 Positive Dog in Hong Kong: Update
04-09-2020Dermatology Practice and Social Distancing
04-09-2020CVMA National Issues Committee Member, Dr. Ian Sandler speaks to 580 CFRA about COVID-19 in animals.
04-09-2020Susceptibility of ferrets, cats, dogs, and other domesticated animals to SARS–coronavirus 2
04-09-2020COVID-19: What Employers Need to Consider
04-09-2020COVID-19: Coronavirus Memo for Workers
04-09-2020COVID-19: Preventative Measures List
04-09-2020Ward & Uptigrove PPT: Navigating the Financial Implications of the COVID-19 Crisis
04-09-2020COVID-19 Breakeven Fixed Costs Excel Sheet
04-09-2020COVID-19: Social Distancing - Poster
04-08-2020Recorded Webinar: Staying Psychologically Safe in the face of COVID-19
04-08-2020New COVID Council Webinar featuring Dr. Scott Weese - April 9
04-08-2020Another SARS-CoV-2 Experimental Study
04-08-2020Preventing and Responding to COVID-19 in Meat Slaughter and Processing Establishments
04-08-2020Merck Manuals COVID-19 Information and Resources
04-07-2020SARS-CoV-2 in cats: Wuhan, China
04-07-2020Telemedicine Guidance Document | Economics and Telemedicine Webinars Reminder
04-07-2020Routine mask use in vet clinics?
04-07-2020CAHI COVID-19 Response Information Sharing Webinar with CVMA Updates - April 9, 2020
04-06-2020CVMA Economics Webinar: Navigating the Financial Implications of the COVID-19 Crisis on Vet Medicine - April 8, 2020
04-06-2020CVMA COVID-19 Webinar: What is Veterinary Telemedicine? A Q&A Session - April 8, 2020
04-06-2020CVMA Veterinary Telemedicine Guidelines
04-06-2020COVID-19 Webinar: Information for Canadian Animal Shelters
04-06-2020Dr. Ian Sandler, member of the CVMA's National Issues Committee, speaks to Global News Radio about COVID-19 and your pets
04-03-2020PSA: Veterinarians are Here for You during the COVID-19 Pandemic
04-02-2020Pets of People With COVID-19: What To Do If The Owner Can’t Care For Them?
04-02-2020Coronavirus Can Infect Cats — Dogs, Not So Much
04-02-2020Presentation - COVID-19 Legal Perspectives: Workplace Issues
04-02-2020Recorded Webinar - COVID-19 Legal Perspectives: Workplace Issues
04-02-2020Information Update on Veterinary Antimicrobial Sales Reporting for the Year 2019 - from the Veterinary Drugs Directorate
04-01-2020Recording Available: COVID-19 in Veterinary and Animal Group Settings: Protecting People and Animals
04-01-2020SARS-CoV-2 in Dogs, Cats and Ferrets ... A New Experimental Study
04-01-2020In Times When Social Distancing is Required the CVMA WebStore – MyVetStore.ca is Here to Support You
03-31-2020Social Distancing and Vet Clinics: A Video
03-31-2020Canine Coronavirus Disease - VCA
03-31-2020Preventing and Responding to COVID-19 in Meat Slaughter and Processing Establishments
03-31-2020World Health Organization: COVID-19 Update 20
03-31-2020NEW! CVMA: COVID-19 and Animals - FAQs for Veterinarians
03-30-2020Social Distancing WITHIN Veterinary Clinics
03-30-2020COVID-19 and Ferrets
03-27-2020Mental Health Webinar: Staying Psychologically Safe in the Face of COVID-19
03-27-2020British Veterinary Association: Guidance for Veterinary Practices in Assessing Emergency and Urgent Care during the COVID-19 Pandemic
03-26-2020Mobile Vets and COVID-19
03-26-2020Update: PHAC Information on Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
03-25-2020AAHA’s COVID-19 Response
03-25-2020VIN COVID-19 Information Center
03-25-2020Canadian Council on Animal Care - Updates Concerning COVID-19
03-25-2020The CFIA is prioritizing critical activities during COVID-19 pandemic
03-25-2020Advice for Companion Animal Practitioners During the COVID-19 Outbreak
03-25-2020Personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages in veterinary medicine
03-24-2020CVMA: COVID-19 - Guidelines for Elective Services and Social Distancing
03-24-2020The OIE Responds to Questions on COVID-19
03-23-2020CVMA: COVID-19 - NEW! Government of Canada Information including Guidance on Humans and Animals, and Food
03-23-2020CALAM/ACMAL National Teleconference: COVID-19 - March 25, 2020
03-23-2020In an effort to assist with some new business challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, CVMA in partnership with HRdownloads is here to support you
03-22-2020COVID-19: Ventilators for Use in Human Medicine?
03-22-2020Wanted: Hydrogen peroxide and glycerol
03-21-2020Veterinary Clinics Named Essential Service in PEI
03-21-2020COVID-19 Information for California Veterinarians
03-21-2020Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) - Information for industry
03-20-2020Global Veterinary Surgery: ‘No evidence that COVID-19 can be contracted from pets’
03-20-2020Advice for pet owners for visiting your vet during the COVID-19 outbreak
03-20-2020COVID-19: What we don’t know (but that doesn’t mean we can’t do something)
03-19-20207 everyday ways to adapt veterinary practice during the pandemic
03-19-2020Health Canada Application and Notification Form for Exceptional Release of Disinfectant and Sanitizing Products
03-19-2020NAVC - The Coronavirus and Pets
03-19-2020How to Prepare Your Farm for COVID-19
03-19-2020CVMA: Preventive Tips for Managing COVID-19 in the Clinic
03-19-2020Flattening the curve: How clinics are helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19
03-19-2020COVID-19 update: Another positive dog
03-18-2020Bulletin for ABVMA Members – COVID-19
03-18-2020Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): For health professionals
03-18-2020ABVMA: Veterinary Care for your Animals – COVID-19 Information
03-18-2020College of Veterinarians of Ontario Temporarily Relaxes Certain Regulations on Prescribing and Dispensing During Public Health Emergency
03-18-2020Social distancing and veterinary medicine: Are they compatible?
03-18-2020Routine Practices and Additional Precautions for Preventing the Transmission of Infection in Healthcare Settings
03-18-2020Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Awareness resources
03-18-2020OIE and WVA: COVID-19 and Veterinary Activities Designated as Essential
03-18-2020Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Guidance documents
03-18-2020Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Resources for Canadian businesses
03-17-2020NEWStat: Special COVID-19 Edition
03-17-2020Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Owner Contact Guidelines
03-17-2020LifeLearn’s Complimentary COVID-19 Response Kit
03-13-2020WHO Information Network for Epidemics: COVID-19 Update 16