How Will Pets Be Treated Now That They May Be SARS Threat?
Pet expert Charlotte Reed offers her insight on the Associated Press article that stated that the SARS virus can be passed to animals and how it will affect animals' treatment in the U. S. and other countries.
(PRWEB) November 1, 2003
Researchers discovered the vulnerability of cats and ferrets to SARS while searching for animals to test potential vaccines. But we still do not know if the animals can pass the virus to people. Although reports have stated that at this time, pet owners should be alarmed, there are two disturbing factors:
First, the continuous, killing of cats, dogs and other animals in China, which by the way has been going on for months. In April and May, the Beijing government was rounding up dogs and cats from SARS patients' homes and killing them for fear these canines and felines will spread the deadly disease. Even so, individual, Chinese pet owners who did not have SARS or were in no contact with SARS patients were dropping their dogs and cats at Chinese veterinary clinics to have them put down. One man even threw his Pekingese off the balcony suspecting it had SARS.
Second, the issue, which should be of concern for Americans, is that many U. S. animal shelters are searching from Puerto Rico to Taiwan to fill kennels. Dogs coming into the U. S. need certificates of good health and proof of rabies shots. They are not required to be quarantined. So far, the importation of disease is not a problem but the prospect of importing disease is a series one. What makes it most frightening is that unless you are looking for something specific, you wouldn't know a pet is carrying the SARS virus until it is too late.
The other disturbing factor is that the government has shown more respect for social customs and individual interest, including pet ownership. In September, China's capital loosened rules on dog ownership, slashing registration fees up to 80 percent and transferring supervision form police to neighborhood committees. Dog ownership, banned under the rule of the late Mao Zedong as a bourgeois practice, was legalized only a few years ago as a higher living standard and has allowed many people to afford pets. Now, many Chinese people will not want to have or be able to enjoy the health and social benefits of having a pet for fear of contracting SARS.