Information for animal owners seeking veterinary services
Veterinary services have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Your veterinarian can assist you by explaining how to safely access veterinary care for your pets and animals at this time. Please note that every veterinary facility is unique and may be delivering services differently to ensure the health and safety of their staff and clients. If you don’t have a veterinarian, and require veterinary services for your animal, please make use of the College’s Find a Veterinarian search tool.
Your veterinarian may use telemedicine
Veterinarians may use telemedicine to consult with clients and to manage both triage and non-urgent cases, including prescribing medication if needed. Trust your veterinarian’s judgment on the services they can safely provide at this time.
My regular veterinary clinic is closed
Your veterinarian may need to close temporarily due to illness, staffing shortages or other circumstances. Information on how to access veterinary care and medical record information may be available to clients on a phone message, signage on the door, website, or electronic notice. These provisions are required through the veterinarian-client-patient relationship.
If you need veterinary services but you do not have a regular veterinarian
If you do not have a veterinarian, please visit the College’s Find a Veterinarian search tool, found on the College’s website. You will need to contact the veterinary facility to determine what services are being offered at this time.
The delivery of veterinary services during the pandemic
Veterinary services have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. You should contact your veterinarian for information on how you can safely access veterinary care for your pets and animals.
Veterinarians are committed to providing services safely. Your veterinarian may be limiting public access to the clinic building; making use of telemedicine to consult with clients; completing patient triage outside of the clinic or hospital; and postponing some procedures. Public health measures are intended to minimize exposure to COVID-19; trust your veterinarian’s judgment on the services they can safely provide.
If you are concerned a veterinarian is not engaging in public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19
Veterinarians are expected to follow public health advice, recommendations and instructions to protect the health and safety of their clients, patients and staffIf you are concerned that veterinary professionals are not following this guidance, please contact the College.
COVID-19 and animals
The current spread of COVID-19 is as a result of human to human transmission. There have been reports to indicate that COVID-19 is also being transmitted from humans to animals. However, there is no evidence that pets and livestock play a role in transmitting COVID-19 to humans..
Public health authorities recommend that people with COVID-19 symptoms or those who are self-isolating due to contact with a COVID-19 case, should follow similar recommendations around animals, as they would around other people in these circumstances:
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have a pet or other animal:
avoid close contact with them
practise good cough etiquette
avoid coughing and sneezing on your animals
always wash your hands before touching or feeding them
limit your animal's contact with other people and animals
Precautionary measure for livestock producers
Livestock producers should follow normal biosecurity measures as always. This includes limiting visitors or workers who may have travelled abroad in the last 14 days, are ill, or who have been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case in the last 14 days.
Producers are encouraged to consult the following resources for more information on farm disease prevention:
These measures are recommended as a precaution, and are basic practices to prevent transmission of diseases between humans and animals. If you have concerns, seek professional advice from your veterinarian or a public health professional who can help to answer your questions.
For more information:
Worms and Germs Blog – For further information on risks you may wish to keep in mind regarding your pets and the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the Worms and Germs Blog, published by the University of Guelph’s Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses.
Ontario Animal Health Network – The Ontario Animal Health Network has published a guide about caring for your horse during a pandemic to assist horse owners with developing a plan for their horse’s care if they become ill or need to self-isolate.
Public Health Ontario - A COVID-19 fact sheet providing guidance on how to care for pets and other animals, How to care for pets and other animals.
SARS-CoV-2 in Animals Dashboard - The SARS-CoV-2 in Animals Dashboard is a public interface that displays cases of SARS-CoV-2 infections in animals in Canada, which are confirmed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease. The dashboard is interactive and can be searched by species, province and date or time period.