Resources for Livestock & Animal Owners
Dear Texas Animal Owner,
The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) continues to support local, state, and federal public health officials as they respond to the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19) that is causing the outbreak of respiratory illness in people worldwide.
As such, the TAHC would like to provide you credible information and resources when it comes to livestock and pets. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available. Check our website, https://www.tahc.texas.gov/,often for the latest details on COVID-19 as it relates to animal health.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some strains affect animals, while others affect people. The majority of coronaviruses stick to their own species. COVID-19 has not been proven to circulate between people and animals.
Can animals become ill with COVID-19?
To date, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has not received any reports of pets or livestock becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States. The first case of an animal testing positive for the virus in the United States was a tiger, that had a respiratory illness, at a zoo in New York City.
The CDC is aware of a very small number of pets outside the United States to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2. Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that animals spread COVID-19 to people. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.
Can people get the virus from animals?
At this time there is no evidence to suggest any animals, including pets or livestock, can spread COVID-19 infection to people.
Should any animal showing signs of respiratory illness be tested?
If your pet is showing signs of a respiratory infection, consult with your veterinarian so they can assess the animal for common respiratory illnesses. The TAHC, Department of State Health Services (DSHS), USDA and CDC do not recommend routine testing of animals for this virus. Because the situation is ever-evolving, public and animal health officials may decide, out of an abundance of caution, to allow testing of certain animals after consulting with the attending veterinarian.
Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I have COVID-19?
Although there have not been reports of pets becoming sick with COVID-19 in the U.S. it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them.
Are there any livestock movement restrictions?
There are currently no movement restrictions on livestock in the U.S. related to COVID-19. If you live in an area impacted by a stay-at-home order, you can print and carry the letter from the Texas Department of Agriculture in case you are questioned. Essential Worker Travel Form
What services are considered Essential Critical Infrastructure for Food and Agriculture?
On March 19, 2020 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) identified the specific industries that comprise Critical Infrastructure Industries including food and agriculture. The list of services included in the critical food and agriculture infrastructure can be viewed here
Are livestock markets open?
Livestock markets are open and continue to operate across the U.S. and Texas. Please contact your local market if you have questions. Please note, livestock markets are working with their state and local public health officials to implement appropriate measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.