Updated Quarantine Guidelines for the Intake and Sheltering of Dogs and Cats Exposed to SARS-CoV-2

April 15, 2022

Updated quarantine guidelines for the intake and sheltering of dogs and cats exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (virus that causes COVID-19)

Updated 4/15/2022

The following statement is endorsed by animal shelter veterinarians of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Shelter Medicine Program, Association of Shelter Veterinarians, University of California Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, Cornell University Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, University of Florida Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The Shelter Medicine Academic Consortium (SMAC) recommends elimination of quarantine periods for dogs and cats from COVID-19-exposed households. There is no evidence that companion animals play a significant role in spreading COVID-19. Transmission risk remains overwhelmingly human-to-human. As many shelters have returned to standard operations without quarantines and animal intake numbers returned toward pre-pandemic levels, there have been no reported adverse impacts on shelter population health or human health related to exposed cats or dogs. Accordingly, shelters should intake, manage, and outcome all cats and dogs per standard operating protocols (e.g., healthy animals should be handled per usual protocol, animals with clinical signs of respiratory disease should be handled per usual protocol, etc). These guidelines represent the current state of knowledge around SARS-CoV-2 and dogs and cats and are subject to review and modification.

The Shelter Medicine Academic Consortium (SMAC) is a group of shelter medicine experts created to develop and disseminate evidence-based recommendations grounded in practical shelter management considerations.