There is no evidence that humans can get COVID-19 from pets or livestock.
Testing Pets for COVID-19:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) agree that there is no need to routinely test companion animals for COVID-19 at this time.
- In agreement with these recommendations, the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) will not authorize testing of the general companion animal population.
- The decision to test an animal must be authorized by Missouri State Veterinarian Dr. Steve Strubberg or, in the event he is unavailable, Missouri Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Jean Schmidt, in conjunction with Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Howard Pue or, in the event he is unavailable, OVPH Senior Epidemiology Specialist Molly Baker.
- The Missouri state and public health veterinarians can only authorize testing of Missouri origin animals.
Authorization for testing will be conducted on a case-by-case basis:
- When requested by a private veterinarian who is reporting:
- A new, concerning illness that cannot be otherwise explained, AND
- The companion animal has had close contact with a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection, AND
- That testing for infectious diseases that commonly cause companion animal illness has been conducted to rule out COVID-19.
- When requested by academic institutions for the purpose of research:
- The proposal, sampling criteria, animal species and scope of the project will be outlined prior to authorization.
- Researchers will establish an endpoint for each study in conjunction with MDA based upon time and date or number of animals/households tested.
- If the scope of the project, the testing criteria, or the endpoint changes, the state veterinarian must authorize those changes.
- Researchers must obtain institutional approval prior to the start of their project.
- Once the decision is made to test, the state veterinarian will authorize and designate a state-appointed veterinarian, USDA accredited veterinarian, or foreign animal disease diagnostician (FADD) to collect the sample using appropriate personal protective equipment.
- Sample collection methods will be verified with guidance from the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory.
- Official sampling will follow USDA guidance.
Laboratory and Reporting:
- The University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory will conduct initial animal testing and provide test kits to authorized veterinarians.
- SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) detection in any animal is reportable per OIE guidance.
- Positive results
- Will require confirmation through additional testing by USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL).
- Will only be reported publicly when confirmed by NVSL and information has been communicated with the Missouri state veterinarian and the public health veterinarian.
- MDA will communicate the information to USDA, AVMA, CDC and National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials (NASAHO) and work with those groups for unified messaging.
Management of animals in COVID-19 positive households:
- MDA will default to AVMA guidance and CDC’s guidance concerning the management of animals in shelters and households in which a human has tested positive for COVID-19.
- There is no current guidance available regarding quarantine of test positive dogs, cats or other pets. MDA will follow any guidance provided by the USDA/CDC working group if new information becomes available.
- If an animal has a positive result, MDA will not remove the animal from the home.
- AVMA guidance states that every effort should be made to allow companion animals to continue to co-habitate with their family when possible. However, if temporary sheltering becomes necessary, a number of precautionary steps should be taken including:
- Dogs should be walked outside for elimination and exercise but direct contact with other companion animals should be avoided as a best practice to protect animal health.
- Feces should be collected using gloved hands or a bag and disposed of immediately.
- Ideally, these dogs should be walked in an area that can be readily sanitized in a dedicated area separate from the general animal population.
Important COVID-19 Resources: