Dr. Rosslyn Biggs Gives a Vet's Perspective on Animals and COVID-19Tue, 14 Apr 2020 17:42:16 CDT
As the pandemic continues across the globe, there have been lots of questions about animals being carriers for the coronavirus and becoming infected with the coronavirus. Associate Farm director, KC Sheperd, went to Dr. Rosslyn Biggs, Director of Continuing education and assistant clinical professor at Oklahoma State to get some answers for producers who work around animals daily.
Dr. Biggs says across the board; livestock producers are familiar with coronaviruses that can infect animals. Still, coronaviruses, in general, have been around a long time, especially in livestock. Again, that coronavirus is very different from COVID 19, "Definitely not the same type of coronavirus we see in cattle. The coronavirus that infects cattle is not the same as COVID-19. The coronavirus we see in cattle is not one we should be concerned about infecting humans. There are very different properties to those two coronaviruses."
There have been reports that a Tiger in the zoo in New York contracted COVID-19, as well as a few other dogs that were reported to have it as well. Biggs said the information changes daily, and so she is encouraging animal owners to be smart about practices, "If you are showing illness, or test positive for COVID 19, you want to limit your interaction with humans. Isolate yourself, don't interact with others. We are encouraging the same principals, just simply out of an abundance for caution, in particular with pets."
Biggs goes onto say how vital biosecurity is on the farm, as well as emergency planning and preparedness. With all the weather changes throughout Oklahoma, it's essential to have reasonable discussions about being prepared and having your plans in place to take care of not only small animals but large animals should you have an emergency on your farm. Biggs says the same principals apply with COVID 19, "Folks need to be prepared if they become ill for the care of their animals. Agriculture doesn't stop, so we've got to continue taking care of those animals."
Biggs said now is also not the time to draw any rash conclusions and drop your dogs and cats off at the animal shelter for fear they will give you COVID-19, "We've been monitoring this closely from the Veterinary perspective, and the likelihood that animals will become infected with the virus is very low, even when they have direct contact with a human that is infected. And even if they are to become infected, the possibility that they show clinical signs is also very low yet again. So as animal owners, we should be using common sense, and We should isolate ourselves from animals if we become ill, and to not be fearful. There has not been any documentation of humans being infected by pets."
Outside of the COVID 19 worries for cattle producers, Biggs says she hopes to see producers finish up calving season and how they are going to prepare those calves to be successful. Breeding season is around the corner and bull purchasing, "Getting calves on the ground, getting bulls tested, getting cows re-bred, and thinking about our health protocols for those calves to make them successful as they enter their next stage of life."
Click below to read an article Dr. Biggs has provided related to this disucssion, and you can click the listen tab below to hear the complete conversation with KC Sheperd and Dr. Biggs.
Animals and COVID-19 Extension Article.pdf
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