Pets and coronavirus

Ask the Vet

Q: I’m hearing so many different things: should I be concerned that my dog can get the coronavirus? C.G., Farragut

A: The coronavirus is on everyone’s mind right now. As of this writing, there have been two dogs that tested positive in Hong Kong. These dogs both lived with a person that tested positive for COVID-19 but never showed any symptoms or became ill.

Researchers at this point believe that dogs can carry the virus on their fur or in their nasal passages, just as the virus could be on a table or door handle.

For this reason, the CDC is recommending that symptomatic people should limit their exposure to their pet(s) and have another family be the primary caretakers during that time. The risk is the virus could be transmitted from the sick person to other people in the house via the dog’s fur.

As of now, veterinarians are considered “essential,” so you should be able to access veterinary care during this time. In an effort to conserve resources, veterinarians have been asked to alter practice protocols by deferring elective surgeries. Many of us have donated gowns, gloves and masks to local hospitals.

Hopefully you have heard about the “Million Mask Challenge.” There is a growing national movement to sew homemade masks to provide them to anyone who needs one, especially the medical community. The Knoxville Veterinary Medical Association is participating and has distributed over 400 cloth masks to local veterinary and human hospitals and also law enforcement.

If you can help, please e-mail

If you have pets, please remember this is a fluid situation and new information is available almost daily. Follow online at and for updates.

Be safe and stay healthy.

If you have questions about your pet, e-mail Dr. Myers at