Animal shelters and veterinarian offices are considered an essential service under the latest guidelines from the Quebec provincial government
Like most businesses and organizations, they are putting special measures in place to ensure the safety of staff, animals and clients.
The SPCA has moved its application system online and has seen a significant upswing in demand.
“Right now we’re getting tons of applications from people who want to adopt an animal. We’re also getting a lot of calls about people who want to take animals into foster care,” said Anita Kapuscinska , SPCA Montreal spokesperson.
Like other businesses and organizations, the SPCA has limited the number of staff in its buildings.
“We will continue to provide the essential services to animals in need,” said Kapuscinka. “However, if you are in a different situation and need to abandon your animal and it’s not an emergency, please postpone it.”
Although there are no indications that animals can transmit COVID-19, pet owners should still take preventive measures.
“We do not recommend taking your dog to the park; we don’t know where the dogs have been or who they touched. It is important to keep your dog on a leash,” veterinarian Dr. Enid Stiles told Global News.
Stiles is also the president elect of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. According to Stiles, pets do not appear to get sick from COVID-19, but they can be infected with the virus that causes it.
Stiles also says the risk of transmitting COVID-19 from animal to human is very low.
The precautions humans need to take, Stiles said, must also be applied to pets. “Treating your pet as your family, and like any family member in your home, keeping that social distancing.
Animal hospitals have started screening clients to make sure they don’t present any risk factors or symptoms.
“We will use better protective equipment, we are going to be wearing eye masks, gloves and we are going to be taking that extra precaution” Stiles said.