18 March 2020

Animal Health Update – COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is having many impacts on everyday life. Whilst the global response has focused on protecting human health, it is also important to protect the health and wellbeing of our pets, horses and livestock.

Both livestock and pets will continue to require healthcare throughout this unprecedented time.

Animal health is a precondition to the high animal welfare standards expected of and by Australians and to ensure that food derived from animals is safe for our consumption. Continued access to veterinary medicines is essential for the health and wellbeing of pets, horses and livestock, and the people who care for them.

The Australian Government, Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and Animal Medicines Australia continue to emphasize the importance of hygiene and hand washing as a measure to prevent transmission. This is especially important before and after handling pets, pet food, litter boxes or washing food and water bowls.

The Australian Veterinary Association has a number of resources available on their website for veterinarians, veterinary practices and animal owners including infection prevention and control for veterinary practitioners and risk management for veterinary workplaces. AVA has also ratified a Telemedicine Policy which is available on the AVA website.

The evidence suggests that COVID-19 has an animal source, however the current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human to human transmission. Expert advice from the World Health Organisation states that there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID- 19.

In relation to COVID-19, Australians should seek advice from health.gov.au or through the Coronavirus Health Information Line 1800 020 080.

media release