You may have heard that some tigers in a New York zoo, and subsequently two house cats, have tested positive for COVID-19.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses associated with respiratory illness in birds and mammals. COVID-19 is a member of the coronavirus family. Other coronaviruses can cause illness in certain animals, including dogs, cats, cattle, camels, ferrets and bats. Coronaviruses that com­monly infect dogs and cats do not infect humans.

Vaccines routinely used to help protect animals from coronaviruses offer no protection in humans and should not be used to prevent COVID-19. Do not self-medicate or self-test for COVID-19.

There have been a very small number of pets, including dogs and cats reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 after close contact with people with COVID-19. At the time of this writing, there is no known animal-to-human spread of COVID-19 involving pets. On­going research to understand how and if different animals could be affected by COVID-19 is being conducted.

The most effective method of disease prevention is to avoid exposure to the virus.

• Avoid close contact—stay at home, putting at least a 6-foot distance between yourself and others.

• Clean hands often—wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol may be used if soap and water are unavailable.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a face cover if you must be around others.

• Cover coughs and sneezes by coughing or sneezing into your elbow/sleeve or into a disposable tissue.

• Clean and disinfect—surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected often. COVID-19 is susceptible to most common household disinfectants.

While the primary concern of the COVID-19 pandemic is human health, animal owners should have plans to ensure proper care of their animals in an emergency. As individuals prepare for the unexpected, they also should develop plans for their animals. Pet owners should have more than one option for pet care in their plan in the event the usual pet sitter or boarding facility is unavailable. Animal food, medications and health records, as well as transport options, should readily be available. Farmers and ranchers should make similar considerations specific to their operation. Considerations for supplying feed and water, as well as routine health care, should be planned in advance. All animal owners should coordinate with their veterinarian.

If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or con­firmed), out of an abundance of caution, restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around people. It is recommended people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. This can help ensure both you and your animals stay healthy. When possible, have another mem­ber of your household care for your animals while you are sick. Avoid direct contact with animals until the illness resolves. Do not pet, snuggle, groom or otherwise touch animals unless necessary. If you have a service animal or must care for your animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them. A face cover over your mouth and nose should be considered as well. Any sign of animal illness should be reported to a veterinarian immediately.

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Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; Phone 405-744-5371; email: has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies.  Any person who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

OSU Extension Office Remains Accessible

 I hope this writing finds you and yours safe and well. I wanted to remind you that, although we may be working remotely, your OSU Extension Office personnel are still available and working to meet your needs. Drop boxes are available, all day on Tuesdays and from 8am to noon on Fridays, for soil, forage, and water samples. Please fill out the forms provided at the drop box.

We can be reached by phone voice mail (580/228-2332), or our personal email addresses and other information can be found on our Web page: