(File photo)

B.C. vet stresses need for pet hygiene despite COVID-19 risk being low

West Kelowna’s Dr. Moshe Oz comments after dog in China tested positive for coronavirus

Okanagan pet owners are concerned following reports that a pet dog tested positive for the coronavirus in China earlier this week.

According to a release from the Hong Kong government’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), low levels of COVID-19 were collected from nasal and oral samples from the dog and that it was likely contracted due to human-to-animal transmission.

The AFCD said that there is no evidence that pet animals can be a source of infection of COVID-19, but pet owners across the Okanagan have sought advice from local vets.

“It definitely has been brought up,” said Dr. Moshe Oz of Rose Valley Veterinary Clinic.

“I expect concerns will become a bigger topic in the next few weeks. We heard that there was just the one case and there’s really no way for us to check dogs and cats right now. The most important part right now is hygiene.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus impacts Okanagan fruit exports to Asia

Experts have stressed that washing hands and not touching your face are some of the best practices when it comes to stopping the spread of viruses.

Oz said that being hygienic, smart, prepared and cautious will go a long way to help pets.

“Try and clean your pets and make sure everything is clean. If we can, make sure every dog has its own food and water bowl. It’s hard to do, but I think that because of the unique situation it will take some time.”

“But if you have any kind of concern, with your dog sneezing or coughing or not feeling good, go to your vet and mention it. The most important part is hygiene and early detection.”

READ MORE: Eight new B.C. coronavirus cases, one with no travel link

The Public Health Agency of Canada siad there is currently no evidence to suggest that any animal native to Canada (wildlife, livestock or pets) harbours the virus that causes COVID-19.

The agency, however, recommends that travellers to an affected country or region should avoid contact with animals and animal products.

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