Measures to protect animals from COVID-19 to be out soon – DA

Marje Pelayo

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) will ask the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to formulate measures on how to protect animals, especially pets, from contracting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The DA considered such a plan after tests on pet canines abroad revealed ‘weak positive’ of the novel coronavirus.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said it is still best to educate and warn the public on how the virus may be transmitted in different ways.

We will advise now ang may sakit na ng COVID-19 na huwag na o (We will advise all those infected with COVID-19) don’t try to have your pets near you so that (the virus will not be transmitted to the) pets,” Dar said.

BAI, however, explained that a more comprehensive study is needed to determine how the said ‘weak positive’ COVID-19 has been transmitted from humans to the canine.

DAI Director Ronnie Domingo noted that even until today, experts are still studying as to how the coronavirus found in bats has been transmitted to humans.

“Kaya siguro nag-testing ang Hong Kong sa mga alagang pets. Baka ang na-test nila ay ang mga exposed na sa corona virus para malaman nila kung iyon bang amo na may nCoV ay mayroon din ang alaga niya (Perhaps Hongkong tested those that have exposures to coronavirus to determine if the pets of the owners who have nCoV also have the virus,) ” he added.

BAI said about 60% of infections in humans are actually from animals.

Thus, the agency advised pet owners to practice proper hygiene and sanitation when handling their animals.

It is best to have them vaccinated and clean their area within the house.

Also, make it a habit to change clothes after playing with a pet animal.

As a general rule, practice proper hand washing at all times and immediately consult a veterinarian should the animal manifest any suspicious behavior.  MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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