A LEADING vet from the district has offered guidance to pet owners who are concerned about what they can and can’t do during coronavirus.

Orchard House, which has practices in Hexham and Stocksfield, remains open during the lockdown to help ill and injured animals during the time.

Tim Pearson, the firm’s clinical director, has offered advice to the public, covering many of the frequently asked questions.

Mr Pearson said many people had asked if pets could get the Covid-19 virus. However, he insisted they couldn’t, despite confirmed reports of two dogs in Hong Kong and a cat in Belgium found to have small amounts of virus after being in contact with owners suffering from the virus.

The routine for animals should remain the same if owners are not ill, but contact should be restricted between human and animal if somebody is ill or has coronavirus.

Mr Pearson said: “If you have to look after or be around your animals whilst you are sick, then wash your hands thoroughly before and after you interact with your pets and wear a face mask.”

Dogs are still allowed to be taken for walks during lockdown, although care should be taken to abide to the Government’s social distancing terms of keeping two metres away from people.

Mr Pearson recommended that people should not stroke or walk other people’s pets as a precaution, just in case the pet could pass on the virus from one human to another.

For cat owners who have contracted the virus, their pets should be kept indoors where possible, but those that must be outdoors should have reduced interactions with their owners.