COVID-19: Information for Veterinarians
There is no evidence that animals can spread COVID-19 or that infection would be serious for them. The virus spreads primarily from person to person. The health and safety of employees should be the focus of every veterinary practice both companion animal and large animal.
Prevent and Prepare for Staff Illness
Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water before eating, after using the bathroom, coughing or sneezing, and touching surfaces. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available and there is no visible dirt on your hands.
Frequently sanitize common areas with EPA registered antimicrobial products for use against COVID-19 that are safe to use in and around the animals and clinic.
Employees who are sick or show signs of respiratory illness should not work until they are symptom-free.
Work with other clinics to help cover workload as needed.
Routine Care and Emergencies
Veterinary services have been deemed essential functions under Healthcare and Public Health Operations in Arizona Governors Executive Order 2020-12.
In this context, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Veterinary Association (WVA) advocate for the specific activities of Veterinary Services to be considered as essential businesses. Maintaining the activities that are crucial to public health.
Veterinarians are an integral part of the global health community. Beyond the activities linked to the health and welfare of animals, they have a key role in disease prevention and management, including those transmissible to humans, and to ensure food safety for the populations.
In the current situation, it is crucial that, amongst their numerous activities, they can sustain those necessary to ensure that:
- national and regional veterinary regulatory and inspection services can oversee the integrity of public health;
- only healthy animals and their by-products enter the food supply to guarantee food safety for the populations;
- emergency situations can be addressed;
- preventative measures, such as vaccination against diseases with significant public health or economic impact, are maintained; and
- priority research activities continue.
Below are some links to various information on how to keep you and your staff safe during these changing times.
With respect to regulatory issues, currently no state or country is waiving import requirements for animals. Please check with states of destination for requirements to move animals into those states from Arizona. In most cases, this will require an examination, +/- testing or vaccination and a CVI.
We encourage veterinarians to evaluate on a case-by-case basis the public health importance of companion animal rabies vaccination relative to the need to amend their business operations because of COVID-19. If a veterinarian determines that it is necessary to postpone an individual animal’s rabies vaccination appointment due to business operation interruption, then we recommend prioritizing administration of the rabies vaccination once normal veterinary business operations resume. Veterinarians are reminded that companion animals that have never received a rabies vaccination pose the most significant public health threat.