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Los Angeles County offers free COVID-19 testing for animals

Article

California county announced they received funding to provide testing for animals, from companion animals to marine mammals

ALEXEI/stock.adobe.com

ALEXEI/stock.adobe.com

Veterinary Public Health in Los Angeles County, California, announced it received funding from the CDC and Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) to support the county’s efforts of surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in animals. Through this project, the county will be able to learn more about COVID-19 from a One Health view. The free testing will also help learn more about the significance of humans, animals, and environmental relationships regarding COVID-19.

According to the County of Los Angles Public Health,1 this grant will also provide free testing in multiple animal care facilities and agencies throughout the county. The county hopes that the grant will allow them to test many different species such as dogs, cats, hamsters, raccoons, bats, deer, and seals.

The signs of COVID-19-positive animals include1:

  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Eye discharge
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting

Along with these symptoms, the County of Los Angles Public health also warns that animals can be positive for COVID-19 but asymptomatic.

Pet owners who suspect their pet has COVID-19 are eligible for a test if their pet was exposed to either a human or another animal with COVID-19 or if their pet was exposed and is showing symptoms. For veterinarians to have a patient tested, contact the County of Los Angles Public Health, and it will provide testing kits. If veterinary professionals suspect a positive case or a patient tests positive, please fill out this reporting form and submit it to vet@ph.lacounty.gov.

As of August 18, 2022, Los Angeles County has tested 177 animals with no positive cases.1

Reference

Los Angeles County SARS-CoV-2 Testing for Animals. Lacounty.gov. Accessed August 23, 2022. http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/vet/AnimalCOVID19Surv.htm

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