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Animals and coronavirus: A pet-therapy, anti-anxiety, for the whole family
AMONG THE MANY CARTOONS and pictures funny that are ‘traveling’ in the network and the groups of Whatsapp in these days, there are also some that have as protagonists the animals ‘offered’ rent as a pass to get out of the house in the time of quarantine. It is just a way of joking, which, however, captures in some way the ‘social function’ that our pets are taking place also in this phase so difficult for everyone. And then there's no shortage of doubts: our animals can get sick of Covid 19? If someone in the family is a positive result must avoid contact with dogs and cats? So many doubts which are trying to respond to the National Agency for the Protection of Animals (Enpa). The Sars-CoV-2 can infect pets? And a doubt arose in all those who have a pet after the news of the dog weakly positive for coronavirus in Hong Kong. Since then, the National Agency for the Protection of Animals (Enpa) has received thousands of questions and, therefore, has promoted the dissemination of a Handbook on the animals at the time of the Coronavirus, which is constantly updated and is accessible on the website of the Association to provide the correct indications about what we can do and what we have to do for the protection of the health of all. But as things are? “Although the Sars-CoV-2 to be most likely originated from an animal – it also clarifies the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe) - today, the epidemic is sustained only by the transmission of the virus between man and man, or by contact with contaminated objects, without the active involvement of animals”. However, the situation is rapidly evolving and is therefore always a good idea to check the scientific updates. Limit contact with animals in case of infection Another doubt: is it better to avoid contact with pet animals in case of infection with Sars-CoV-2? According to experts of the Izsve, in the case of infection it is best to limit contacts to the minimum necessary, exactly as you must do to the other members of their family, and how should you do in case of any form of disease. It is always advisable to maintain a high level of hygiene, washing hands before and after touching our pet. Useless, then request a test for coronavirus feline or canine to evaluate if our animals are healthy because the coronavirus that infect them are very different from Sars-CoV-2. In fact, there are many coronaviruses that can infect humans and pets, that have nothing to do with the epidemic of Covid-19. Since the test carried out on dogs and cats is specific for the coronavirus feline or canine, the result of the test would not give any information relative to infection by Sars-CoV-2. Cat ladies and volunteers: what they can continue to do Some of the cities are also full of cat ladies who care for a colony of cats or free cats on the territory, as well as there are volunteers who deal with dogs free. Can continue to do so? The Enpa answer was yes, but with specific precautions in the movements. The raising and care of feline colonies, and cats in a state of freedom, of the dogs of the neighborhood and loose dogs taken care of, are within the scope of the derogation in relation to “health reasons” because those reasons are also extend to animal health (as clarified by the Ministry of Health). In fact, the condition is a “situation of necessity” because cats and dogs free would not be, in fact, cared for and fed, and would be exposed to abuse and neglect. More: if the cat lady, or the volunteer is prevented from taking care of the animals, to sanitise the spaces where you usually live, the cats and unleashed dogs should be in search of food, potentially creating a dispersion of the colony and related issues. The cat ladies and the volunteers who were in this condition, you need to carry the self-certification form declaring the situation of necessity (the third box) + the reason of health. Less alone and more useful thanks to the pet beyond that, of the many practical questions, in this period we are rediscovering the great value of the human-animal relationship also because being more time in the house, you have the opportunity to dedicate more to your four-legged friend. “We are in forced isolation, in a climate of fear and bewilderment. We had time to do without the human contact and our habits,” says Francesca Millers , an expert in pet therapy, scientific director, Centre for Research on Antropozoa. Therefore, to live with a pet in the home is a great advantage, especially in this particular historical moment and social. “Allows you to exit a while to carry out his needs, but his presence is especially useful between the walls of the home: it makes us feel less alone, stronger, more useful, allows you to better cope with what is happening around and is no cause for further anxiety. In addition, the family system can benefit: everyone has his duty towards the animal,” adds the expert. Because the dog or cat does not cause anxiety, But our four-legged friends are also of the formidable anti-stress, because when we communicate with relatives and friends always talk about hopelessly coronavirus, with the animal this is not the case. “With him, - explains Millers - the relationship is immediate: here and now. We don't think about the future, but now. A bond that serves as protection to mental, which is so important in moments of weakness. It is an emotional dependence, spontaneous, genuine, that increases our resilience”. In addition, important studies show how mental health has among the elements determined, the contact with nature and bond with animals will also be essential when we have to go back to normal.

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