|Your AVMA is actively engaged on COVID-19 and its potential impacts on veterinary medicine. Our goal is to support you with relevant information in this fast-evolving situation. We are in regular contact with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), veterinary medical experts, and international agencies to gain the latest resources and intel on the disease and its causative virus (SARS-CoV-2) for you and your clients.We’ve gathered information important to veterinary professionals at avma.org/Coronavirus and will continue to provide you with regular updates there and on the AVMA@Work blog as soon as they become available. We are also sharing updates on all our social media platforms. You can subscribe to the blog and follow our social media pages for breaking updates.
Coronavirus: What we know as it relates to pets
We are actively monitoring developments related to animals and the virus. On Thursday, February 27, a dog in Hong Kong tested “weak positive” for coronavirus (the owner tested positive for coronavirus). The dog has since received a second positive result that has been sent to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), which is working with Hong Kong health officials on this case. The precise meaning of “weak positive” remains unclear and further evaluation is ongoing. Hong Kong authorities have said the dog shows no clinical signs of illness but remains quarantined. We will keep you updated as we learn more.
At this time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) say there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19. However, as with any disease, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals.
According to the CDC, people who are sick with COVID-19 should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would restrict your contact with other people. When possible, a member of the household other than the individual who is ill should care for any animals in the household. Those infected with COVID-19 should avoid contact with animals, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. Those who must care for a pet, or who will be around animals while sick, should wear an appropriate facemask and wash hands thoroughly before and after interacting with those animals.
Potential Shortages of Drugs and Medical Supplies
The AVMA is also concerned about potential medical supply chain issues, including both pharmaceuticals (specifically active pharmaceutical ingredients [APIs]) and medical products, such as personal protective equipment. We have learned from FDA that there are 32 animal drug firms that make finished drugs or source active pharmaceutical ingredients in China for the United States market. The FDA has contacted all 32 firms and no shortages have been reported at this time. However, six of those firms have indicated that they are seeing disruptions in the supply chain that soon could lead to shortages. The FDA is working with these firms to help identify interventions to mitigate potential shortages. FDA has done similar work on the medical product/device side. An FDA webpage has been created through which the FDA is sharing information around the availability of drugs and medical supplies. Because veterinarians use a substantial number of FDA-approved human drugs under federal extralabel drug use statute and regulations, shortages on the human side will be felt by veterinary medicine as well. The AVMA’s concern and our work on behalf of the veterinary profession thereby touches both markets.
AVMA is in close communication with FDA and is supporting its efforts by gathering information about drug needs (from both the animal and human markets) and any related concerns from veterinarians, practices/practice groups, and veterinary distributors. Veterinarians are encouraged to send information regarding any supply chain issues of concern to the AVMA at firstname.lastname@example.org. Detailed information on the product of concern and the manufacturer/distributor of that product will be most helpful.
We want to emphasize that we’re here for you. We are working with all of the relevant agencies and key stakeholders to be your source of veterinary-related information so that you can make the best decisions for your practice, your employees, your clients, and your patients. If you have any questions regarding how the AVMA Trust may be able to help you or your practices, visit www.AVMAPLIT.com or call 800-228-7548.
Please check back in with us on the AVMA website or follow our social media channels, where we will continue to share the latest developments regarding COVID-19.