Okay, so I have to admit, I am pretty nerdy when it comes to any kind of virus or immunology subject. Back in the 80s, I was in graduate school for immunology before I realized I hated research and applied to veterinary school. Educating clients about immunology, especially how it relates to their dogs and cats, is still a passion of mine and has been a focus in my holistic veterinary practice for years.
This coronavirus, COVID-19, existed in animals only, for nobody knows how long. But one day, at an animal market, in Wuhan China, in December 2019, it mutated and made the jump from animal to people. At first, only animals could give it to a person. Within just two weeks it mutated again and gained the ability to jump from human to human. Scientists call this quick ability “slippery”.
Because this Coronavirus recently originated from an animal source, it is not a type of virus our human bodies find familiar. If it were a human influenza virus, our bodies would be able to categorize it and mount a faster immune response to it. So the bottom line: Because this is a brand new virus for humans it essentially takes us by surprise. The people with healthier immune systems can eventually effectively ‘deal’ with COVID-19, whereas older and immunocompromised individuals may be at great risk for bronchitis and pneumonia.
The reason I say all of this is because this virus is truly a bad character! This is the real deal! Wash your hands frequently, avoid those crowds, stand far apart from each other. If you have to be out and about, boost your immune system in any way you know how. Drink lots of warm drinks (COVID-19 hates heat above 78 degrees), use sanitizing hand gel, don’t touch your face (number one site of infection is via touching the nose), and do not show up at work if you feel sick and/or have a fever.
Ha! Now I got carried away and forgot why I started this blog. I wanted to tie this coronavirus thing in with our four-legged friends. Some of the items on this list are plain old common sense things that you may have already considered, but I’m going to list them anyway.
Essential Etiquette for Animal-lovers during the Coronavirus Pandemic:
- Dogs and cats cannot contract COVID-19. This is the truth!
- Do not touch other people’s dogs or cats. If a human has coronavirus and touches their animal, the virus can live on the animal for up to 12 hours. Eek!
- Do not let other people touch your dog or cat.
- Do not take your pup to the dog park! Take him out for a walk in a low-populated place, just you and Rover, instead.
- If you and your dog absolutely must be around other people or dogs, when you arrive home, apply a few drops of lavender oil to a moistened cloth and gently rub it over your dog’s body. This will help wipe off and decontaminate their coat.
- If you live in a multi-person household and become sick with suspected COVID-19, do not touch your dog or cat AT ALL! They may carry the virus on their fur to other unsuspecting individuals in your house.
Here’s the bottom line…
Be thoughtful. Be intentional. Be realistic. Be in relationship with your family. We are all in this together. What an opportunity to grow love and honoring in our communities. We can do this. We get to do this.