COVID-19 and Animals – What We Know So Far

Published by Dr. Adam Denish, Dr. Bob Sarsfield and the CVP Medical Advisory Board

Updated on May 13, 2020

The CDC recently announced a small number of companion animals, including dogs and cats, have reportedly been infected with COVID-19 after being in close contact with infected owners. At this point, there is limited available information and further studies need to be conducted to understand how animals could be affected by the virus. So far, there are no reports of any animal dying from COVID-19.

We have been closely following the developments of this issue and curating information from credible resources. Based on review of information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and other industry leaders, we would like to share what we know so far:

  • Cats and ferrets seem to be most susceptible to contracting infection of the virus from humans and other animals.
  • Although there are reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in some animals, symptoms in animals seem to be mild and all animals without an underlying health issue have recovered. There is a report of an infected dog dying, however there were other underlying health issues with this patient.
  • At this time, we believe there is very little risk of a veterinarian contracting COVID-19 during treatment, even if the pet lives with someone who has the virus.
  • It is vital for veterinarians to continue to use the recommended PPE according to the CDC and to continue following safety protocols to prevent exposure.

The clinical spectrum of illness for COVID-19 remains largely undefined for animals and they may present with either respiratory or gastrointestinal clinical signs based on other more common coronaviruses found in animals. Symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Lethargy
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal/ocular discharge
  • Diarrhea

As of today, veterinary experts and state governments do not recommend screening non-clinical pets for the virus unless recommended by a public health authority. However, we would like to offer the following guidance for those pets presenting with symptoms:

  • IDEXX Reference Laboratories has developed a real-time PCR test to detect SARS-COV-2 based on the genetic sequence in the human outbreak. This test may be considered for cats or ferrets in consultation with a public health authority when investigating respiratory disease after common issues have been ruled out.
  • An Upper Respiratory Disease Panel should be considered for those cats or dogs presenting with symptoms who reside in a COVID-19 household before testing for SARS-COV-2.
  • Ferrets and cats presenting with respiratory signs should be evaluated with an influenza virus panel first and then tested for SARS-COV-2
  • Nasal and oral swabs are the preferred mode of testing and the swab must be a plastic tipped, polyester sheath swap and must be sent in brain/heart infusion (BHI) media. Note, for the IDEXX real-time PCR test they require swabs to be submitted in dry sterile containers. For IDEXX, you can use a white blood tube with no additives.
  • We encourage checking with your state veterinarians or public health departments prior to testing for COVID-19 as some states will perform the test and are waiving the $50 specimen fee.

We strongly encourage following the CDC’s recommendations for PPE based on the history of the companion animal.

The topic of COVID-19 and animals has been covered by numerous news outlets and online media sources. Below is a list of credible resources we have discovered through our investigation of COVID-19 and animals.

As with the pandemic, how COVID-19 is affecting animals continues to evolve. We will continue to monitor this issue and will provide updates as we understand more.


New Hampshire-Based Animal Hospital Welcomed as One of the First in the State to Join the Growing CVP Family

PHILADELPHIA, PA (December 13, 2019) – Community Veterinary Partners (CVP) is pleased to announce The Animal Hospital of Barrington as one of the first hospitals to join our community in the state of New Hampshire.

Founded in 2003 by Dr. David Harriton and his wife, Dr. Michelle Harriton, The Animal Hospital of Barrington provides general and preventative full-service veterinary care for small companion animals, with specialty focuses including orthopedics, ultrasound technology and acupuncture. The Animal Hospital of Barrington was built to provide compassionate, quality, family-centered care, which complements perfectly the CVP community of veterinary hospitals.

“At CVP, we took note of how The Animal Hospital of Barrington has demonstrated high standards of continuous, quality animal care over their 17 years in practice,” said Kevin Ruffe, CEO of CVP. “Working with Dr. David Harriton and Dr. Michelle Harriton to continue to serve the Barrington community and deliver that same level of care is why CVP exists.”

In addition to Dr. David Harriton and Dr. Michelle Harriton, Associate Veterinarians Dr. Hannah Wells and Dr. Sara Hodgdon round out the veterinary staff at The Animal Hospital of Barrington. The veterinarians, along with the entire hospital team, work together to keep their patients healthy and to be there for their Barrington community when needed.

“At The Animal Hospital of Barrington, we’ve always believed that our job is not only to treat a pet when it isn’t feeling well, but more importantly to help families keep their best friends and companions happy and healthy for their entire lives,” said Dr. Michelle Harriton. “We saw that belief system reflected in CVP and their family of animal hospitals.”

“Michelle and I worked hard to build and maintain a positive culture that resonated with our team and out in the Barrington community,” said Dr. David Harriton. “We needed a partner that would prioritize what we’ve built over the years, and one that would also understand our commitment to maintaining and continuing to foster strong relationships with our local community.”

With the addition of The Animal Hospital of Barrington, Community Veterinary Partners maintains its focus on providing quality care and compassion to animals and families in their communities and is proud to expand the CVP family to the state of New Hampshire.


Veterinary Emergency and Surgery Hospital is One of the First New Hampshire-Based Animal Hospitals Welcomed to the Growing CVP Family

PHILADELPHIA, PA (December 13, 2019) – Community Veterinary Partners (CVP) is pleased to announce, Veterinary Emergency and Surgery Hospital (VESH) in Brentwood, New Hampshire has joined the ever-growing group of veterinary hospitals as one of the first in the state welcomed into the CVP family. 

Owners Dr. Selvi Kumaresan-Lampman and Dr. Timothy Lampman founded VESH in 2006 with a commitment to ensuring quality emergency and surgical care for small animals in the Brentwood community. They expanded to add general practice to their offerings in 2014. Accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), VESH has demonstrated high standards of continuous, quality animal care for the last 14 years they have been in practice.

“VESH is home to a remarkable team of veterinarians, demonstrated by their AAHA accreditation and the relationships they’ve built with the families throughout their community,” said Kevin Ruffe, CEO of CVP. “Their commitment to providing comprehensive, compassionate, high-quality care to every pet they treat is right in line with CVP’s mission and values. We are honored to have them as part of the CVP family.”

In partnership with Dr. Timothy Lampman, Medical Director and Lead Veterinarian, Dr. Natalie Levesque leads the VESH team in providing 24/7 emergency services, surgery, general practice and orthopedic services, as well as acupuncture to the pets that visit them every day. Associate veterinarians Dr. Thomas Diffell, Dr. Erin McGrail, Dr. Timothy Hunt and Dr. Ann Craig, round out VESH’s experienced veterinary team. 

“We’re excited by the CVP partnership for many reasons. Mostly, I am struck by how the CVP team has worked to transition our hospital in a way that has maintained our leadership structure and team. And in their diligence to uphold the incredible culture we’ve worked so hard to build over the years,” said Dr. Kumaresan-Lampman.

“CVP was an ideal partner as we pursued and worked through this transition,” said Dr. Lampman. “It was critical to all of us at VESH to maintain our commitment to providing care throughout our community while prioritizing the growth of our emergency and general practice services. We’re grateful to CVP for their partnership and guidance in helping us see a clear path toward achieving our goals together.”

With the addition of VESH, Community Veterinary Partners maintains its commitment to providing quality care and compassion to animals and families throughout their footprint and is proud to expand the CVP family to the state of New Hampshire.


LaVale Veterinary Hospital Joins the Growing CVP Family as the 2nd Maryland-based Animal Hospital

PHILADELPHIA, PA (December 6, 2019) –Community Veterinary Partners (CVP) is pleased to announce LaVale Veterinary Hospital is the 2nd Maryland-based practice to join the growing CVP family. Founded in 1986 by Dr. Ian MacFawn, LaVale Veterinary Hospital is the only 24-hour hospital serving the surrounding LaVale community.

Led by Dr. Jim Cosgrove and Dr. Jason Griffith, LaVale Veterinary Hospital comes to CVP with a focus on providing services to communities that have limited access to emergency and specialty animal clinics. The hospital is a lifeline to high-quality, accessible pet care for many families. 

“Joining CVP was more than just a business decision—this was personal,” said Dr. MacFawn. “I started this practice in 1986, and it has grown over the last 30 years into an eight-doctor practice, with 40 family members on our support staff and our own families, including my daughter, Lauryn, working alongside us. We’re excited to join a compassionate family of fellow veterinary providers that understands our commitment to pets, pet families, and our own family at LaVale.”

For more than 30 years, LaVale Veterinary Hospital has been committed to providing the best in routine care, emergency care, and preventative wellness. In addition, the practice also provides medical, surgical, dental and critical care, radiology, chemotherapy and palliative care, cold laser therapies, and more. CVP has a long-standing reputation of helping hospitals with the same commitment to continue their legacies.

“The LaVale team’s commitment to providing accessible, comprehensive, and high-quality care to every pet in their community is so at home within the CVP community, our mission, and our values. All of us at CVP are excited to partner with the entire team at LaVale to ensure every pet and every pet family continue to receive that same great care,” said Kevin Ruffe, CEO of CVP.  

“It was critical to all of us at LaVale to maintain our long legacy of care to LaVale and our surrounding communities,’ said Dr. Cosgrove. “We are thankful for CVP’s partnership, guidance, and the ability to maintain our values throughout the entire process.” 

“LaVale is a family of veterinarians who care deeply about the work we do,” said Dr. Griffith. “Partnering with CVP has been a positive experience and we’re excited to continue to grow within CVP and our local community.” 

With the acquistion of LaVale Veterinary Hospital, Community Veterinary Partners maintains its focus on providing quality care and compassion to animals and families in their communities.


Animal Hospital at Lake Brandt Joins the Growing CVP Family as the 6th North Carolina-based Animal Hospital

Community Veterinary Partners (CVP) is pleased to announce Animal Hospital at Lake Brandt is the 6th North Carolina-based practice to join the growing CVP family. 

Led by Dr. J. Linwood Jernigan, with associate veterinarians Dr. Tess Jordan, Dr. Catherine Brown, and Dr. Carolyn Hennessey, Animal Hospital of Lake Brandt comes to CVP with a focus on providing high-quality animal care for a variety of pets across Summerfield and the surrounding communities.

“AHLB’s commitment to providing comprehensive, quality care to every pet in their community, combined with their compassionate approach to educating and assisting families in giving their pets the best possible lives, feels so at home within the CVP community. All of us at CVP are excited to partner with the entire team at Animal Hospital at Lake Brandt,” said Kevin Ruffe, CEO of CVP. 

Lake Brandt provides routine, emergency, and preventative wellness, as well as comprehensive medical, surgical, reproductive medicine, dental care, orthopedics, diagnostics, and dermatology, as well as a dedicated focus on nutrition and health. AHLB is unique as they also offer minimally invasive (laproscopic) surgical options as well.

“At AHLB, kindness is the foundation of our practice. In working with CVP, we believe our values are in perfect alignment. We’re excited to join a compassionate family of veterinary providers, offering the best care possible to pets and their families. Our entire team and I are tremendously grateful to CVP for their partnership, their guidance, and their commitment to maintaining our values throughout this transition.”

With the addition of Animal Hospital at Lake Brandt, Community Veterinary Partners maintains its focus on providing quality care and compassion to animals and families in their communities in the state of North Carolina, as well as across the entire CVP footprint.


Warren Animal Hospital Joins the Growing CVP Family as the 5th New Jersey-Based Animal Hospital

PHILADELPHIA, PA (October 4, 2019) – Community Veterinary Partners (CVP) is pleased to announce Warren Animal Hospital has joined the growing CVP family. Warren is now the 5th New Jersey-based veterinary practice within the CVP community, continuing the company’s steady expansion on the Eastern side of the United States.

Dr. Vincent Zaccheo leads Warren Animal Hospital with associate veterinarians Dr. Nicole Zaccheo, Dr. Amber Bauer, and Dr. Stephanie Duffy. The practice comes to CVP with a 40-year focus on providing high-quality animal care for a wide variety of companion and exotic pets across the Phillipsburg area and surrounding communities. 

“Warren Animal Hospital’s longevity of service to their community, combined with their comprehensive care offerings to pets and their owners, are such tremendous benefits to the CVP family. All of us at CVP are excited to partner with Warren in continuing to offer their community the care they have come to expect from such a wonderful and valued pet care provider,” said Kevin Ruffe, CEO of CVP.  

Operating for more than four decades, Warren provides routine and preventative wellness, comprehensive medical, surgical, and dental care, diagnostics, as well as a dedicated focus on reproduction planning to help pet owners decide if, when, and how to breed their pets. 

“It was important to everyone here at Warren to go through this transition in a way that allows us to maintain the 40-year legacy we’ve built for our hospital. In working through this process with CVP, we could see how our values and priorities aligned in providing the best care possible to pets and their families, and in ensuring that we will continue to deliver that care at the hospital level. I am tremendously grateful to CVP for their partnership, their flexibility, their guidance, and their commitment to this family and team throughout the entire process.”

With the addition of Warren Animal Hospital, Community Veterinary Partners maintains its focus on providing quality care and compassion to animals and families in their communities.


West End Veterinary Office as the 8th New York-Based Animal Hospital to Join the Growing CVP Family

Community Veterinary Partners (CVP) is pleased to announce West End Veterinary Office as the newest animal hospital to join the growing CVP family. West End is now the 8th New York-based veterinary practice within the CVP community, continuing CVP’s steady expansion on the Eastern side of the United States.

Led by Dr. Don Factor, with associate veterinarian Dr. Krysten Santiago, the Newburgh-based veterinary practice comes to CVP with a focus on providing animal care for a wide variety of exotic, avian, and household pets, as well as other small animals.

“At CVP, we know that people’s love for animals extends beyond the typical household pet. That is why we are so excited for West End to join us. With their focus on providing compassionate and comprehensive care for a wide variety of animals, West End’s dedicated veterinary staff’s experience will be a benefit to the entire CVP family,” said Kevin Ruffe, CEO of CVP. “We are looking forward to what we will be able to accomplish as we continue to build and grow together.”

Operating for nearly two decades, West End provides routine and preventative wellness, medical, surgical, and dental care, emergency services, labs and diagnostics, and a noninvasive cold laser therapy program to help reduce or avoid the use of drugs or surgical interventions for painful and inflammatory conditions. West End is certified as a cat-friendly practice by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), which sets guidelines and best practices on providing veterinary care to cats.

Additionally, West End is a proud practitioner of “Fear Free” techniques to help ensure that every pet experiences the most stress-free visit possible. From a variety of tools and techniques, including pre-treated blankets with natural cat pheromones to help felines relax, private, pet-friendly waiting rooms for cats, birds, exotic or small animals, ensuring that staff use dimly-lit exam rooms, low voices, and gentle handling, and offering toys and treats as rewards and distractions, every effort is taken to ensure both pets and humans look forward to and enjoy the entire veterinary experience.

“When I founded West End in 2001, I did so because I believe all animals should be treated with the care, compassion, and love they deserve, whether they have four paws, feathers, or scales,” Dr. Factor said. “Throughout the entire process of deciding to integrate our practice into CVP’s network, I focused on the people our veterinary staff would connect with as we continue to grow. We’re a big part of the special bonds people build with their pets over their lifetimes and we don’t take that responsibility lightly. We saw those values reflected in CVP and the CVP community.”

With the addition of West End, Community Veterinary Partners maintains its focus on providing quality care and compassion to animals and families in their communities.


San Juan Animal Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida Joins the Growing CVP Family

PHILADELPHIA, PA (July 9, 2019) – Community Veterinary Partners (CVP) is pleased to announce San Juan Animal Hospital has joined its growing family. With the addition of San Juan Animal Hospital, CVP’s network now includes two veterinary practices in the state of Florida, all focused on providing quality care and compassion to families in their communities.

Led by Dr. Gregory Bennett, with associate veterinarians Dr. Carl Guill, Dr. Rena Fulton, and Dr. Justin O’Keefe, the Jacksonville-based veterinary practice comes to CVP with an outstanding record of more than 75 years of service to the community. Dr. Bennett and his wife, Barbara, purchased the San Juan practice more than 20 years ago with the goal of providing compassionate care, exceptional customer experiences, and excellent veterinary medicine to Jacksonville-area pets and families. 

“The Bennetts and their team are a perfect addition to our community, and it was clear from our earliest of conversations that the compassion for their patients and their commitment to providing the best animal care possible is the reason they have been so successful,” said Kevin Ruffe, CEO of CVP. “We are excited about what we will be able to accomplish as we continue to build upon their legacy together.”

San Juan Animal Hospital provides routine and preventative medical, surgical, and dental care, emergency services, state-of-the-art diagnostics, client education programs, and nutrition programs for animals. Additionally, the veterinarians and professional staff at San Juan uniquely offer noninvasive laser therapy and acupuncture treatments to help aid pet patients in post-surgical healing, treatment for chronic illnesses and acute conditions, and pain management.

“When Barb and I took over ownership of San Juan, we did so because we wanted to nurture human-animal bonds within our practice and throughout the greater community. We accomplish that by providing care and compassion for pet patients, their families, and especially within our own team,” said Dr. Bennett. “Our team has been the cornerstone of our success as a practice and we wouldn’t be here without them. We decided to join the CVP network because we knew our veterinary staff would be taken care of throughout the transition and we saw shared values that we knew would be upheld. Quite honestly, we wanted to partner with someone who would let us remain a family unit – throwing nerf balls at each other, laughing together, arguing and then getting over it.”

With the addition of San Juan Animal Hospital, Community Veterinary Partners continues its steady expansion on the Eastern side of the United States.


Community Veterinary Partners Selects Heartland Veterinary Clinic in Virginia as the 60th Hospital to Join Its Growing Network

Community Veterinary Partners (CVP) is pleased to announce Heartland Veterinary Clinic is the 11th hospital in Virginia to join the CVP family. With the addition of Heartland, CVP’s network now includes 60 animal hospitals as partners, all focused on providing quality medical care for every pet and compassion for every family.

Led by Dr. Brian Arneson, with associates Dr. Heather Beach and Dr. Martha Hunt-Estrada, the Harrisonburg-based veterinary practice comes to CVP with a strong passion for providing their patients with the best medical care in the area. The veterinarians and professional staff at Heartland have a unique focus on veterinary surgery and laser therapy, as well as providing routine care.

“Heartland’s demonstrated commitment to animal care in the Harrisonburg community makes them a natural fit within the CVP family, and a great addition to our growing network of hospitals in the state of Virginia” said Kevin Ruffe, CEO of CVP. “We are looking forward to working together with the doctors and staff at Heartland to build upon the great success they’ve already accomplished.”

Heartland provides routine preventative medical, surgical, and dental care, as well as offers an in-house diagnostic laboratory, specialized testing, radiology, ultrasound, and endoscopy services, as well as chemotherapy treatments for animals. Additionally, Heartland’s practice has taken a comprehensive and innovative approach to managing the pet fear, stress, and anxiety that can accompany vet visits and treatments. With their “Reduced Fear Initiative,” Heartland staff work to address and eliminate stress factors that significantly impact pet health and well-being, with the aim of making vet visits more pleasant for every pet and person involved.

“Within the entire Heartland team, animals hold a very special place in our hearts. We treat every single pet that walks through our doors just like the family members they are to their humans,” said Dr. Arneson. “We believe in providing pets with the highest quality care, medical services and treatments in ways that prioritize their emotional and physical well-being and delivered with the utmost compassion. We saw those same values reflected in the CVP community and feel confident we’re all working towards the same goals of compassionate, quality care for all animals. We are excited for the next chapter of the Heartland story with CVP.”

With the addition of Heartland, Community Veterinary Partners continues its expansion in the eastern part of the country. 


Mayfair Animal Hospital of Cary, North Carolina is 59th Hospital to Join the Community Veterinary Partners Family

Community Veterinary Partners (CVP) is pleased to announce Mayfair Animal Hospital as the 5th hospital in North Carolina to join the CVP family. CVP’s network now includes 59 animal hospitals as partners, all focused on providing quality medical care and compassion to every pet.

Led by Dr. Susan Bristol and Dr. John Santilli, with associates Dr. Laura Foster, Dr. Irene Rusnak, and Dr. Teri Smith, Mayfair Animal Hospital is one of the longest-standing animal hospitals located in the heart of Cary, North Carolina. The hospital comes to CVP with a strong reputation and a spirit of service to the community.

Mayfair Animal Hospital is one of only three animal hospitals in the Cary, North Carolina area to be certified by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), and practices excellence in animal medicine in every area, every day. As a full-service animal hospital that provides routine medical, surgical, and dental care, as well as emergency treatments and services, diagnostics, nutritional counseling, and age-specific specialty care, the clinical team at Mayfair Animal Hospital treats each pet in the Research Triangle Park area with care and compassion, just like the family member they are to each one of their humans.

“Mayfair’s mission of service and community aligns so well with our focus on providing the best care for patients. We are excited to work with them to build on the legacy they have established within the Cary community,” said Kevin Ruffe, CEO of CVP. “Joining the outstanding reputations of the other CVP hospitals in North Carolina, as well as throughout our full network, we are thrilled to have Mayfair’s commitment to and outstanding record of enrichment, service, and love for their community as part of our growing network. Together, we are all in good company.”

As avid supporters of the Cary K-9 Police Dog Program, Mayfair Animal Hospital supports the community’s police canines to ensure they reach their full working potential. Because of the unique emotional and physical demands these canines encounter, Mayfair’s veterinary team work closely with each canine and their individual police handlers by providing K-9-specific preventative health care programs, as well as treatments for work-related injuries and illnesses that may arise during their service to the community. Additionally, Mayfair Animal Hospital proudly supports the WakeMed Hospitality Pets Program, which invites trained volunteers and their screened adult dogs to make in-room hospital visits to brighten patients’ spirits. Dr. Bristol provides the program-required bi-annual behavioral and medical examinations free of charge to program participants. These are just two examples of Mayfair Animal Hospital’s commitment to the Cary community.

“At Mayfair, we prioritize our patients, our pets, and our people, while providing the highest quality veterinary care in a compassionate, friendly, and family-oriented environment. We saw those same core values reflected in the CVP community,” said Dr. Santilli. “Knowing CVP will allow us to continue to provide our patients with the level of care they have come to know and expect from us gives us comfort as we embark on this transition. This is truly a step forward for our patients.”

“We are so proud of our Mayfair family, and that includes our team and our patients, as well as our longstanding role in taking care of our Cary community,” said Dr. Bristol. “Joining Community Veterinary Partners was the best way for us to keep our foundation of values in place while enjoying and benefiting from the support that comes from being part of a community of hospitals all working towards the same goals of compassionate, quality care for animals.”