COVID-19: Resources for shelters, food animal veterinarians

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COVID-19 Infection Map - March 23, 2020

Two new resources added to the AVMA’s COVID-19 webpage provide practical guidance to assist animal shelter personnel and food animal veterinarians in protecting public health and animal health and welfare while carrying out essential work during the current pandemic: 

Protecting veterinary personnel along with the food supply 

Veterinarians help ensure that we have a safe, secure, and stable food supply, and access to clients and patients is necessary to fulfill this role. To decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission, AVMA's new recommendations help food animal veterinarians actively incorporate preventive measures into daily operations, including facility visits.

The recommendations are based on proven techniques that have been applied in many different disease outbreaks and are consistent with this hierarchy of controls:

COVID-19 Hierarchy of Controls

Recommendations include using screening questions to help assess risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19, following social distancing protocols when possible, and practicing strict biosecurity and good hygiene, among others.

Interim recommendations for shelter intake

In preparation for an expected increase in COVID-19 cases, animal service agencies are collaborating with public health departments to support companion animals, including both working animals and pets, of people who require hospitalization and don't have family or friends who can care for the animals.

The new interim recommendations for intake of companion animals from households where humans with COVID-19 are present were developed to facilitate preparedness and establish practices that can help people and companion animals stay safe and healthy.

The recommendations were developed in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Shelter Medicine Program, Association of Shelter Veterinarians, University of California-Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, University of Florida Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 One Health Team.

COVID-19 guidance for the veterinary community

The new resources join a wide range of other guidance and practical tools that veterinarians and veterinary teams can use to address issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Others include considerations for mobile and house call veterinarians, information about using and conserving personal protective equipment (PPE), details on how federal relief measures affect veterinarians and veterinary practices, FAQs, and more. All can be found at



No one is talking about the stress of Veterinarians who work with TNR programs who know the population explosion that is in our near future and there is nothing we can do about it.

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