The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has started offering free COVID-19 testing for pets in the area to help pet owners prevent transmissions involving domesticated animals.

LA health officials formally announced the initiative on Aug. 20, saying that it is offering free COVID-19 testing for pets after receiving funding for the program.

The department encouraged pet owners to take advantage of the initiative on Twitter.

“Your pet may be eligible for free SARS-CoV-2 testing if they were exposed to a human or animal with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19,” the official LA Public Health Twitter account wrote alongside a link for the service.

Based on the description of the service on the department’s website, the initiative was funded by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support the surveillance of the virus in animals in Los Angeles County.

“This project will help us to learn more about COVID-19 from a One Health perspective, meaning that we can learn more about the significance of COVID-19 in human, animal, and environmental relationships,” the department said on its website.

In partnership with local animal care facilities and agencies, the officials said the program is not just for domesticated animals. They plan to test many different species of animals, including wildlife.

Some of the animals eligible for the free COVID-19 testing include dogs, cats, hamsters, pocket pets, deer, bats, raccoons and marine mammals such as seals.

Pet owners can request a free COVD-19 test for their pet if it is experiencing any of the coronavirus symptoms in animals, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, lethargy, sneezing, runny nose, eye discharge, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite.

Thus far, 177 animals in the area, including dogs, cats, bats, raccoons, skunks, rats, and sea lions, have been tested. But none of them tested positive for COVID-19.