Dog Owners Beware!

We were concerned about Ray’s position relative to COVID-19, and  were reassured that the virus is ineffective on dogs. However, it really is not that simple.

A Post today on a Blog that I follow (judysdogreport.com) put the situation in rather more detail, and opened our eyes to potential hazards from our beloved Ray.

Below is a link to judysdogreport, which includes a link to a video of an interview with a U.S. veterinarian who discusses dogs and coronavirus. He gives reasons for why we should keep our dogs away from people and other dogs.

It is a very brief video interview, and I highly recommend all dog (and cat) owners to find a few minutes to watch it.

38 thoughts on “Dog Owners Beware!

    • Hi Lief. Thanks for dropping by and Commenting. I don’t recall seeing you here before so welcome to my Blog. Please accept an open invitation to come back and browse around when you have some free time. Re the Post … You cannot be too careful given that lives could be at stake.

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  1. On April 29, I received an update from my veterinarian clinic, Davisville Park Animal Hospital in Toronto, explaining that there is no reason to worry about our dogs becoming a contagion for the Coronavirus. This was in response to the recent media reports about the Pug in the U.S. that was tested positive for COVID-19. Please read below a copy of the email that I received from Davisville Park Animal Hospital:

    “To our valued clients,

    We hope you are all doing well and staying safe during these difficult times. It will be a long road ahead for all of us but it appears that, for the most part, Ontarians are stepping up and doing their part to flatten the curve.

    As I am sure many of you have heard a dog in North Carolina has officially tested positive for Covid-19. While this may be a scary for many of us, we thought it necessary to quickly acknowledge a few key points:

    1 – This dog lived in a household where 3 people tested positive for Covid-19 (thankfully all 3 recovered).

    2 – The amount of virus this particular dog had was not considered enough to spread.

    3 – There continues to be absolutely no evidence that pets play any sort of role in the transmission of Covid-19.

    4 – Having a pet test positive for this virus is exceedingly rare and there has yet to be any examples in the world where physicians/epidemiologists have been able demonstrate a human was infected with covid-19 by a pet or animal.

    5 – At this point many researchers believe pets are a “dead-end” host meaning it is possible for them to test positive for the virus, but they are seemingly unaffected by it and have no ability to transmit it to other pets or people.

    We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation very closely for any changes or new developments.

    Stay safe!

    With warm regards,

    Davisville Park Animal Hospital”

    https://www.davisvilleparkvets.com/about-us/team/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing Judy. All the various reports I have read basically say the same .. and include equally vague terminolgy. In your vet’s comments:

      “The amount of virus this particular dog had was not considered enough to spread”. – “Not considered” is based on current superficial testing. Nobody is prepared to say definitively how much is needed to be an issue.

      “There continues to be absolutely no evidence that pets play any sort of role in the transmission of Covid-19.”- I do believe that is now being questioned, but the answer must wait for more testing.

      “Having a pet test positive for this virus is exceedingly rare and there has yet to be any examples in the world where physicians/epidemiologists have been able demonstrate a human was infected with covid-19 by a pet or animal.” – That is rather offensive (to me) given the only recent start of structured testing and trying to understand COVID-19.

      “At this point many researchers believe pets are a “dead-end” host meaning it is possible for them to test positive for the virus, but they are seemingly unaffected by it and have no ability to transmit it to other pets or people.” – A researchers belief is not a definitive fact, and “seemingly” unaffected is of no consequence.

      “We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation very closely for any changes or new developments” – That is the only thing of value here really.

      Hi Judy – I hope he/she is a good vet, because as a reference point … this one is terrible! If the comments were made against a relatively minor ailment, then fine … but to ask a customer to base any decision on them about a potentially life-threatening virus is irresponsible. Of course we can all make our own decisions, but there are so many people that will take these comments simplistically. I have seen info from US, Canada, UK and WHO and there many conflicting statements, so my suggestion to everybody is “err on the side of caution”. It could save your life. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Colin,

        Thank you for your thoughtful response to my comment Colin! I value your opinion.

        Yes, he’s a very high quality veterinarian. And yes, he uses cautionary, or vague, words when referring to research and studies especially ones that are in-the-making as it what’s going on right now with changing information about COVID-19.

        Whenever he discusses veterinarian studies on various topics that have been published with me personally in person, he goes in to much more detail in terms of the implications. For example, when I have discussed with him the values of let’s say the Titre test that I have done for my dog every year for Distemper instead of vaccinating, he explains that unless my dogs’ numbers are below the safe range, a vaccine is not necessary. But he also explains that levels in any blood test (and that goes for many human blood tests too) is only a window for that particular day. And that count can change anytime after the test because cells modify on a regular basis. But that being said, he also explains that even when a pet or a human is vaccinated, there is no guarantee that the pet or human’s body has actually developed any or sufficient antibodies for the given disease. He told me all this so I can understand my choice of choosing a Titre test vs a Distemper vaccine and what the implications are for any vaccine and any antibody test.

        My point being is that, Dr. Avery communicates based on an assumption of everything he conveys to his clients is only what is known for at the moment and particularly likely in this case because new research especially with this pandemic is always being updated And based on the scientific reports that are being communicated to veterinarian through his professional college and other sources, he was conveying that up to April 29th, there had not been any confirmed cases of humans catching COVID-19 from their pets. This being said, this is the reason he is vague because he is stipulating that “At this point many researchers believe pets are a “dead-end””. I, as a reader of this statement , personally understand that this statement is not a fact but that this is what “many researchers believe” just like everything else about COVID-19 being reported in the news. The information is changing every day! And I appreciate this comment as simply as information that Dr. Avery has read in scientific reports that I and the general public have no access to. It gives me access to some aspect of scientific reports and the opinion of the scientific community that I wouldn’t otherwise know what the scientific current “understanding” of a topic is. Even though it can change tomorrow, to me, it doesn’t change our behaviour towards protecting or interacting with my dog. But that we can continue our behaviour pattern but maybe worry less until new information tells us otherwise. Which is what I believe was his intension.

        ” ‘Having a pet test positive for this virus is exceedingly rare and there has yet to be any examples in the world where physicians/epidemiologists have been able demonstrate a human was infected with covid-19 by a pet or animal.” – That is rather offensive (to me) given the only recent start of structured testing and trying to understand COVID-19.’ ” I find it surprising that you you find this offensive since Dr. Avery is simply reporting based on the testing that has been done so far. To me, this no different than all of the media coverage reporting all the other research that is just as recent. But, I gather you take all such reports in the media with a grain of salt and side with cautionary behaviour and I totally agree with your approach. But Dr. Avery’s comments in his news email, in my mind, is not more or less valid than all the different “facts” being reported on COVID-19 in respected media such as The Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail of which I read both. It’s simply momentary information and not to be taken as written in stone.

        What I think you are saying though is that, people could interpret this information as “let your guard down” in terms our behaviour around our dogs. And maybe you looked at it like “why are you telling me vague information?” But I think what he intended was to convey “let’s not panic” about the pug testing positive. I agree that he could could have elaborated better to express his intension on how to use the information he was offering.

        So yes, I can attest that he’s an excellent veterinarian. But in the stress that he is likely dealing during this crisis, he may have not thoroughly communicated his intensions of his email in this case. No one’s level of expertise and professionalism should be based on one email. If that were the case, I think many of us would be banned from our professions. He likely was trying to answer the questions conveyed by phone calls and emails his clinic was receiving from numerous clients the day after that pug report came out.

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        • Thank you Judy. My main point was to simply draw attention to the lack of any hard facts, aggravated by a number of possibilities. We have a large population here in which English is a second language, and it is therefore imperative that information as important as this is very clearly stated in simple terms.

          I have no doubt that we’re all “on the same page”, and it is risky for a professional (in any field) to state definitive facts simply because of potential legal proceedings if they are wrong. With that scenario in mind, any professional who wishes to make a statement which will inherently include “possible” “would suggest” “most likely” etc. etc. should really stress the lack of hard facts, and perhaps even recommend erring on the side of caution. The fact that they are legally “clean” due to their choice of words, would be no consolation to a family that suffers as a result of misunderstanding the text.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, Colin. I completely agree! But all the risks and dangers in misunderstanding the text you mention are the same for all reports in the media about COVID-19. It’s a real stressful and uncertain time we are living through like nothing our generation has ever experienced. In the end, most of the above-noted sources are trying their best to guide us the best way they feel they can in the moment. Stay safe!

            Liked by 1 person

            • Well that is a disappointing response.
              “But all the risks and dangers in misunderstanding the text you mention are the same for all reports in the media about COVID-19.” – So does that make it acceptable to mislead people in our current circumstances?
              “It’s a real stressful and uncertain time we are living through like nothing our generation has ever experienced.” – You really thought that I was not aware of that?
              “In the end, most of the above-noted sources are trying their best to guide us the best way they feel they can in the moment.” No they’re not at all. They are saying what they think would be acceptable to us (and safe for them) at a given time. Your vet could have simply said “I/We don’t know ….. “, and that would have been an absolute truth.
              Any official who is asked about COVID-19 could easily say “We are still testing and trying to understand this virus so …. please err on the side of caution because we simply do not know at this time.”
              Sadly we keep bumping into people who think that although we can carry COVID-19 on our clothes and in our hair, it is a fact that dogs cannot carry it in their fur. That is tough to debate when their off-leash dog is running up to you, but I have yet to read anybody around the world categorically stating that it cannot be transmitted. In fact a few weeks ago, it was stated that dogs and cats have a natural immunity to COVID-19 (which has little to do with transmitting it by touch) but that position has now changed. From my perspective, mouths have been “put into drive” long before “brains have been engaged”! 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

    • So many people seem to think that because a dog cannot get COVID-19, it doesn’t matter whether it meets other dogs and people. However, even though dogs and cats apparently have a good immune system for COVID-19, they can still pick it up and spread it on touch. I wondered about that when I read a medical article about us being able to carry the virus in our hair and on our clothes. My thought was quite simple “If we can carry it on our hair and clothes .. why can’t a dog carry it on its fur?”

      So many people will point to an article that refutes these comments however, one just needs to pay attention to the choice of words used. Given that our medical experts are still trying to understand COVID-19, then it is no surprise that “evidence may suggest” or “subject to more testing, it would appear that …” or “as far as we can ascertain from information currently available” etc. etc.

      Given that people’s lives are at stake, due diligence (in the absence of absolute facts) would suggest that dogs should be kept away from other animals and people, just as we should keep our distance from animals and people.

      Welcome to my Blog. You appear to have enjoyed your visit here. 🙂

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    • Here is a transcript:

      As the world is adapting to the new restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, a local veterinarian told KTLA that people should also be taking precautions when it comes to pets. While there is belief that COVID-19 mutated from an animal — likely a bat — the virus is species-specific, according to Los Angeles-based veterinarian Dr. Jeff Werber, meaning dogs and cats cannot get sick from it.

      “The dog won’t get sick, the cat won’t get sick. However, the virus particles can live on them for awhile. The life span of those particles is why owners need to take precautions. If the virus particles are on the dog, and say that dog licks a person’s hands who is infected and then comes and licks you in the face, like dogs like to do, then it is possible it could be transmitted,” Werber explained.

      In order to limit contagion, Weber said social distancing should also be extended to pets. Owners walking their dogs should try and stay away from other people and their dogs on walks, avoid dog parks, doggy day-cares and limit or stop trips to the groomers. He also said that animal hospitals and veterinarians are also limiting the number of pets they are seeing.

      “I heard at one hospital the nurse is going out to the car, taking the dog from the car and bringing it to the hospital, and you don’t even get to go into the office,” he explained. He also urged pet owners to keep animals clean through bathing, and also suggested holding off on elective procedures including spay and neutering.

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  2. We’ve been keeping Maggie away as a matter of course as she is forever picking things up on our walks because of her incessant sniffing. She has also become anxious and nervous, even with people we know, and we believe that is because her sight is going now.
    Good for you bringing this to everyone’s attention Colin. Take care

    Liked by 2 people

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