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CINCINNATI -- Keeping up-to-date on the coronavirus is not something pet boarding and walking business-owner Lisa Alfieri ever thought would enter her job description. That's because medical experts are beginning to find cases of COVID-19 in domesticated animals.
"If anyone is sick in the family, you know, we require them to tell us," Alfieri said. "We're going to require our independent contractors to wear masks during the walks, when they're going in and out of the homes. We will provide hand sanitizer, Lysol."
Her efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus-caused illness came after doctors in New York confirmed two cats had contracted the disease. ABC News reported this week that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that social distancing applies to pets, too.
Northern Kentucky veterinarian, Dr. Kelly Gersh said the precautions are smart because the pet cases indicate humans can spread the disease to their four-legged family members.
"It's OK if your puppy comes into contact with another dog, or even if somebody pets your dog, as long as you're washing your hands," Gersh said.
Gersh said pet owners who have the virus should maintain social distance from their animals -- even inside the home.
"Avoid contact, including petting, snuggling, kissing, and if you have to care for your animals while you're sick with COVID, make sure you're wearing a mask and gloves when doing that," she said.
The CDC recommends keeping all cats inside during the pandemic, if possible, and not to let pets interact with people or other animals from outside the household until the virus' spread is contained.
And stay six feet away from animals when out for a walk or run.
Meantime, Alfieri said the pandemic has caused her business to drop roughly 90%, but she's taking whatever steps necessary to continue serving the customers she still has.
"It's been a rough road, for sure. I'm hoping we survive this," she said.