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Little Rock vet asks public to watch for house pets contracting COVID-19

A Little Rock veterinarian is asking people to watch out for your pets after a house cat tested positive in central Arkansas.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A Little Rock veterinarian is asking people to watch out for your pets after a house cat tested positive in central Arkansas.

"COVID in animals, we don't know a whole lot," Dr. Kimberly Sadler said.

But, it is possible for your pet to contract the virus. Tuesday, the Arkansas Department of Health reported a 9-month-old cat in central Arkansas tested positive for COVID-19.

"I know a positive dog in the state of Florida. We have not tested a dog in our clinic," Dr. Sadler said.

Dr. Sadler is a veterinarian at Chenal Valley Animal Hospital in Little Rock, where she has tested two cats in the past few months. Both were negative.

"It's a PCR test, but we don't use the same swabs that they do in humans," she said.

If a pet is showing symptoms and a family member recently had COVID-19, that's when Dr. Sadler will test.

"What we do know is the transferring it from human to animal is really low and there's been no evidence or reports of animals transferring it back to humans," she said.

Doctors are still learning about why only some animals seem to contract the virus. But, if you do get COVID-19, Dr. Sadler recommends limiting the amount of time spent with your dog or cat.

"Have another family member from your home take care of your pet," Dr. Sadler said.

"If you do have to interact with your pet and you are COVID-19 positive, making sure you wear gloves and washing your hands," she said.

If you are taking them to the park or for a walk, keep them away from other people. Think social distancing, but for your pets, too.

"If you have cats, trying to keep them indoors and not freely roaming outside," she said.