Joint media release from Australian Veterinary Association and RSPCA Queensland: COVID-19 and looking after your pet

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and RSPCA Queensland are encouraging pet owners to continue to proactively care for their pets, hobby farm animals and livestock during the current COVID-19 crisis. Obviously, in some cases, this may mean traveling to bring food to animals and arranging veterinary care when required.

RSPCA CEO, Darren Maier said animal owners also needed to make certain they provided the basic necessities for their animals.

“It’s essential they have enough food, water, and adequate shelter,” he said. “Horses will also need hoof and dental care and coming into winter many will need rugs. People who agist their horses must also visit and check on them regularly.”

COVID-19 and looking after your pet visiting the vet

AVA President, Dr Julia Crawford, said people should continue to take their animals to vets as required.

“Vets are classed as essential services, so if animals need vet treatment that can’t be delayed, then people should arrange an appointment with their vet as they normally would,” said Dr Crawford.

“All veterinary practices have implemented protocols to ensure social distancing and good hygiene are adhered to. Many vets can also offer telemedicine consultations so this may be an option, depending on the situation.

“I would like to remind everyone needing veterinary services to please ring their veterinary practice before arrival as all practices have arrangements in place to ensure that their staff is able to continue to provide their essential services,” said Dr Crawford.

The continued steady adoptions from shelters are very satisfying but Dr Crawford and Mr Maier have a word of advice for new pet owners. Some adjustments will invariably need to be made and owners are asked to seek assistance from the RSPCA or their veterinarian if they are experiencing any behavioural issues with their pet.

“It’s normal for everyone, including current pets in the household, to be affected by a new arrival. The majority of concerns that the new owner may be having can be addressed with some expert advice” said Mr Maier. “The important thing to remember is to enjoy the companionship, loyalty, and love that a pet brings to the household.”

Find out more about smooth introductions between your household and a new pet.

Dr Crawford reiterated that there is no evidence of animal to human transmission of COVID-19 but if you are diagnosed with COVID-19, it would be wise to avoid close contact with your pet.