A Fact-First Look at COVID-19 and Pets - The Trupanion Blog
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A Fact-First Look at COVID-19 and Pets

As the world stays on high alert about COVID-19, a virus that is affecting human populations around the globe, there may be questions about if the virus can affect our companion pets. Here we’ve listed out multiple resources that can illuminate what you need to know about COVID-19 in relation to pets.

Most importantly, please note that there have been no reported pet illnesses from COVID-19. In fact, the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that no animals in the United States have been identified with the virus and there is no evidence to suggest that dogs, or other pets can contract or spread COVID-19.

In addition, we’ve been keeping an eye on our own Trupanion claims data patterns. In the past 45 days, we have not seen any unusual increases or changes in the frequency of illnesses in our pet health database. Mary Rothlisberger, Trupanion’s Vice President of Analytics, confirmed the following:

“We monitor our data on a very granular level; daily, weekly and monthly and by breed, country, city and even at a neighborhood level to make sure we understand and are on top of any health-related trends that might be out of the norm. As of today, we have not seen any increases or changes in the frequency of illnesses that would appear unusual.”

In fact, Trupanion’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Steve Weinrauch BVMS, MRCVS, said this in a press release earlier this week: “With the recent news regarding a pet dog in Hong Kong being quarantined after testing ‘weak positive’ for COVID-19, we have experienced increasing concern from our members regarding the health of their pets. We want to provide them and other loving pet owners with some peace of mind. We understand that a pet is a member of the family and it’s natural to be worried for all of your loved ones.”

Get your questions answered

Dr. Weinrauch also provided answers to these questions that pet owners may have.

Q: With the increase in new cases in humans, what has Trupanion been hearing from pet owners and members?

A: They are asking what signs to look for in my pet, and will my Trupanion policy cover me? With regard to signs, we don’t know what we don’t know but there is no reason to think anything other than the statement from the CDC is accurate. (“there is no evidence to suggest that dogs, or other pets can contract or spread COVID-19.”) With regard to coverage, we cover new and unexpected accidents and illnesses period. That’s exactly why we exist, to provide help in times of uncertainty.

Q: What impact does the virus really have on pets?

A: We are looking for patterns like the frequency of invoices that don’t fit with what we’ve seen over the past 20 years with over 1.5 million Trupanion pets. If we notice something that isn’t within the norm we will pass that information along and dig into it further. Over the past 45 days we haven’t noted any unusual trends. We are continuing to receive real time data before pets even leave the hospital through our software which we have in approximately 5,000 locations across North America. Our software allows us to function as an early warning system for claim pattern changes.

Q:Is there a course of action that pet owners should take should they suspect their dog might be affected?

A: Nothing changes, if your pets show any unusual signs for anything whether accident or illness always make sure you reach out to your family veterinarian.

Resources

To help clear up any other confusion, read on for a round of other animal health news regarding COVID-19 and pets.

  • The New Coronavirus and Companion Animals – Advice for WSAVA Members. This comprehensive document from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association outlines the different concerns pet owners may have, and addresses them one by one. Sections include information about contact between pets and humans who test positive for COVID-19, how the veterinary community can help respond to pet owner concerns, and more.
  • Veterinary Practice News dives into the ‘weak positive’ found in a dog tested in Hong Kong. The articles goes on to explain that currently they do “not have evidence that pet animals can be infected with COVID-19 virus or can be a source of infection to people.”

We will continue to update with new resources if any new information comes to light. As always, we’re here for all pet owners, and encourage people to be as educated as possible about their pet’s health. Thanks to our robust database of pet health information, we keep an eye on any trends and if we see a change, we will let pet owners, veterinary staff and members know right away.

We love informed decisions. See our policy for full coverage details.

Trupanion is a registered trademark owned by Trupanion, Inc. Underwritten in Canada by Omega General Insurance Company and in the United States by American Pet Insurance Company, 6100-4th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108. Please visit AmericanPetInsurance.com to review all available pet health insurance.

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