This Blog is an open and ongoing thread to help keep you updated on COVID-19 and the latest developments involving our companion animals.
February 22, 2021
COVID-SNIFFING DOGS AND THE MIAMI HEAT
Dear Loyal Customers:
In follow-up to my last entry, I wanted to provide you with the findings of using Covid-sniffing dogs at the recent Miami Heat’s game. The following information is from Robert Glatter, MD-Contributor-FORBES-Healthcare.
The consensus is that screening for Covid-19 using highly trained Covid-sniffing dogs is promising, with the prevailing notion that ‘we are not quite there just yet’.
In a nutshell, more peer reviewed and published studies are needed so that the scientific community can more accurately confirm assertions of their accuracy and reliability already put forth. One of the major concerns is whether such an approach or process for screening can be scaled up to a level that would permit canines to make a significant impact on current approaches for mass screening.
The Heat has embraced the canines as part of screening fans who enter stadiums, not waiting for published data on the validity of using such an approach. If the canine sniffs your hand and then sits next to you, you know it’s not as a sign of affection— but rather a sign that you are Covid-positive and cannot enter the arena.
According to a Heat spokesman, “the process has gone well so far—we line fans up at one gate for entrance to games. While the fans are socially distant, the dogs sniff the hands of the fans checking for the detection of Covid-19. If Covid-19 is detected on a fan, we escort the fan and the members of his/her group out of the line and into a separate area where we offer information on how to get tested.”
“Checking for Covid-19 through the dogs is just one layer of providing safety for our fans. We still have strict mask policies once fans pass the dogs and enter the arena for the game,” he added.
The initial experience with using the dogs at Miami Heat games, as recently reported in Forbes, is certainly encouraging with 92% accuracy comparing their proprietary technology to the gold standard PCR test. That said, it would be helpful to see the real data with the actual number of false negatives or false positives after canine screening and follow-up testing. It’s clear that contact tracing and follow-up testing for any presumptive positives, or false negatives will be essential to limit the potential for super spreader events.
“There has been interest in using dogs to detect the presence of volatile [organic] compounds (VOCs) emanating from people with specific medical conditions.” said Amesh Adalja, MD, an Infectious Disease physician, and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Center for Global Health, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “We have seen dogs used for cancer screening as well as for Clostridium difficile screening.
Regarding the use of Covid-sniffing dogs, Dr. Adalja comments, “There is biological possibility to this approach but I do not think it can be used as a stand-alone approach—eventually perhaps this type of technique could be translated into a breathalyzer-type device.”
The basis for relying on a dog’s keen sense of smell has a strong biologic basis. A dog’s nose has 300 million scent receptors compared with 5-6 million in humans, allowing them to pick up minute concentrations of scents. To be clear, dogs already are quite capable of detecting scents from explosives, drugs and firearms, with the ability to detect volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from some cancers as well as malaria. That said, dogs are not routinely used in this capacity, and researchers truly do not understand what constellation of VOCs the dogs are actually detecting. But whatever it may be, these compounds quickly become airborne to create a distinctive scent that dogs quickly detect. What they understand is that there is something unique about the scent produced by metabolic by byproducts of the Covid-19, in this case. And prior research looking at other viral infections (non-Covid) such as bovine herpes and bovine parainfluenza suggests that viral illnesses may result in distinctive scent patterns or molecular signatures.
Going forward, one thing is clear—researchers need to increase their sample sizes before they can get a better idea of how effective the canines may be for Covid-19 detection.
Past research by Dr. James Logan of the London School of Tropical Hygiene and Tropical Medicine demonstrated that dogs could identify malaria infections in people. Logan believes that canines offer the potential of being a another tool to help detect Covid-19 as Dr. Clatter previously covered for Forbes in late April of 2020.
“The use of dogs in these circumstances is very promising, although we still would like to see more robust data to demonstrate how well the dogs can do it,” said Logan. “Trials are well underway here in the UK, and in other countries, and hopefully data will be available soon.”
The bottom line is that we don’t expect Covid-sniffing dogs to replace rapid antigen or PCR-based testing anytime soon. But when faced with the need to rapidly screen large numbers of persons at public venues for entry into events or even travel, it may certainly play a role in accomplishing such a task.
January 28, 2021
Dear Loyal Customers:
DOGS TRAINED TO SNIFF OUT COVID-19
Since there has been no significant “new” news regarding companion animals and impacts with Covid-19, the last Blog was posted several months ago.
Now we have some good news that reflects a potential successful approach to detect a person infected with the Covid virus. I had first posted in June, 2020, about this new approach to detect the virus.
This approach involves trained dogs that will be able to “sniff out” an infected person. Studies and trials all over the world have confirmed that dogs can sniff out people with Covid-19, often by detecting the scent in human sweat. The trained dogs can often detect the virus before a person is symptomatic.
EXCITING NEWS! WE WILL HAVE THE FIRST IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS NEW APPROACH TONIGHT!
From NBC news today, we learn that The Miami Heat will have fans in the stands tonight, Thursday, 1/28/21, for the first time in months with the help of some particularly fast and accurate Covid-19 detectors — virus-sniffing dogs.
Ticket holders will be screened by Covid-19 detection dogs when they arrive at America Airlines Arena for the 8 p.m. game against the Los Angeles Clippers, officials said on the team's website.
FROM THE TEAM WEBSITE:
- All guests will be asked to participate in the mandatory health screening questionnaire.
- All guests will be screened by COVID-19 Detection Dogs upon arrival.
- If a guest becomes sick or begins to feel unwell during the game, isolation rooms will be available throughout the Arena.
- And most importantly: if you're experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please stay home
The dogs will walk past each fan upon arrival. If a dog sits down, the dog is indicating that it has detected the virus, and the person and their party will not be allowed in the arena.
The Heat website specifies that the Covid-sniffing dogs have been specifically trained to identify the virus and won't sit down in the presence of someone who has simply been vaccinated.
"We're familiar with explosive detection canines, drug dogs and so forth, and in this case, the dogs are trained on the odor of the virus, or the metabolic changes of a person that produce an odor that they can be trained to alert to," said Kenneth Furton, the provost and executive vice president of Florida International University, which developed a task force to train Covid-detecting dogs.
Furton told NBC Miami that dogs who have no experience with scent detection could take months to train on Covid searches, but dogs who have learned to sniff out other diseases, drugs or explosives can learn to pick up the virus odor "in a matter of days."
"I think it can provide an extra layer of protection, particularly for wide areas, because even though there is a lot of excitement with the vaccine, it's going to take a while for all of us to get vaccinated," Furton said.
Heat fans will also have to adhere to other Covid-19 prevention policies, the team said. Only a limited number of fans will be allowed in the arena and everyone must wear masks. Guests must stay 6 feet apart and can only order nonalcoholic drinks to be consumed in designated areas.
People sitting within 30 feet of the court will receive rapid tests before the game, as will those who have an aversion to dogs, according to officials.
All fans are asked to arrive early to fill out a questionnaire and be screened by the dogs.
However, as an added note, while these early experiments appear to demonstrate high levels of accuracy by the sniffer dogs, researchers also caution that peer-review processes and larger-scale studies are still needed. Russia, England, Chile, Australia, Iran, Finland, and more countries are where these canine COVID-19–detection programs are also being developed.
GUESS WE WILL HAVE TO SEE HOW WELL THE COVID-19 DETECTION DOGS DO TONIGHT!
August 19, 2020
Dear Loyal Customers:
Last week (August 11, 2020), from NBC News, we learned of more sad news where another dog has died from the coronavirus. The headline read:
North Carolina dog that died after 'acute' illness tests positive for coronavirus
As reported, this dog died after suffering an "acute illness" earlier this month and has tested positive for coronavirus, officials said Monday (8-10-20). The death could mark a rare, potentially fatal case of COVID-19 in a pet, though it's still unclear if there were other underlying conditions that contributed to its death.
It is still very important to remember that to date, according to a list maintained by the Department of Agriculture, only a handful of animals in the United States have contracted the disease. Most of those infections have occurred after contact with people who had coronavirus, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.
The Department says the risk of animals spreading the disease to people remains low. Instead, people who are infected with the virus, can transmit the virus to their pets. Therefore, this fact underscores the vital need for pet parents/pet owners to remain vigilant in protecting their pets.
Pet parents/pet owners must keep their pets away from all coronavirus infected or suspected to be infected people including the pet owner and the pet owner’s family members. It also remains imperative that pet parents/pet owners practice social distancing with their pets including with other pets and with people outside of their home.
More of the story about this dog’s death is that the dog was brought to the NC State Veterinary Hospital in Raleigh on Aug. 3 after showing signs of respiratory distress earlier that day, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.
The person who brought the animal to the hospital told staff members that a family member had previously tested positive for coronavirus, though a later test returned negative results, the Department said.
Citing patient confidentiality, the department did not provide additional information about the dog or the person who brought it to the hospital.
The dog died the same day, a Department spokeswoman said. Samples taken from the dog that were tested in a diagnostic lab returned a positive result, a result confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory, the statement said. Investigators were still trying to determine why it died, the statement said.
As of Aug. 7, when the agriculture department’s list was last updated, it had confirmed 13 cases among dogs in eight states, including an earlier positive antibody test in North Carolina. Several cats have also contracted the disease, according to the list. So did eight lions and tigers at the Bronx Zoo.
Michael San Filippo, a spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association, said most dogs that have contracted the disease are asymptomatic or show only slight signs of infection.
That "seems to indicate that this is not a major problem for dogs," he said. "But we have more to learn, like how it might combine with other conditions to cause more serious problems. The American Veterinary Medical Association continues to advise caution with keeping pets away from people who are ill, and to practice social distancing with your pet and other pets and people outside your household."
July 30, 2020
Dear Loyal Customers:
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY
The following is a very sad headline and hurts many hearts to hear.
Buddy, the first dog to test positive for COVID-19 in the US, has died.
He was the first pet dog in the United States to test positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
After months of him being ill, his owners and vet made the difficult decision to euthanize him. The beloved dog died July 11 in Staten Island, New York.
Buddy first exhibited symptoms of the virus in mid-April, right before his seventh birthday. He was struggling to breathe, lost weight and became increasingly lethargic. After multiple visits to three different veterinarians, heart medications, steroids and other medical interventions, Buddy was tested for COVID-19 on May 15.
But it wasn’t until June 2 the New York City Department of Health called the Mahoney family to tell them that their dog had indeed contracted the virus.
“You tell people that your dog was positive, and they look at you (as if you have) 10 heads,” Allison Mahoney told National Geographic.
On the morning of his death, Buddy was throwing up clotted blood in the kitchen. Vets discovered from blood work that he almost certainly had lymphoma and the family knew nothing could be done, according to the magazine.
Buddy’s family and doctors were unable to confirm whether it was the lymphoma or the virus that ultimately took his life.
The guidance from veterinary groups including the American Veterinary Medical Association has largely remained the same since early June: Pets do not appear to be easily infected with the coronavirus, and no evidence has been found to suggest that animals can transmit the disease to humans.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has compiled a list of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 in animals each time it is found in a new species. So far, more than two dozen animals have made the list.
“My pet was like my son,” Allison Mahoney told National Geographic. “When he was passing away in front of me, he had blood all over his paws. I cleaned him up before we drove to the vet and stayed with him in the back seat. I said: ‘I will have your voice heard, for all our furry friends. Your voice will be heard, Buddy.’”
The family’s surviving dog, Duke, tested positive for antibodies but was never sick. The Mahoneys told National Geographic they hope to pick up Buddy’s ashes this week.
July 28, 2020
Dear Loyal Customers:
As the months pass with Covid-19 still a pandemic, updated information regarding our beloved pets has become limited. Nonetheless, we will strive to bring you the most current news that potentially impacts our beloved pets and companion animals.
Our latest update from Fox News regarding coronavirus and our beloved canines, is that a fifth canine in the U.S. has recently been infected. This 5th canine is the first dog in Texas to become infected.
Fox News reports that a private veterinarian decided to test the 2-year-old Fort Worth-area canine for the virus on July 7 as a precautionary measure after its owners were confirmed to have COVID-19, according to the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC).
The Veterinarian commented that “Based on current knowledge, there is no evidence that pets play a significant role in spreading SARS-CoV-2 to people,” State Veterinarian, Dr. Andy Schwartz said. “It’s always important to restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would other people, if you are infected with COVID-19 in order to protect them from infection.”
The dog is one of 12 animals in the U.S, including one lion and one tiger, to test positive for COVID-19, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The animals mainly got sick after coming into close contact with people who had the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Even though a handful of animals have been reported to be infected with the virus in the U.S., the CDC has stated on its website that: "the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low."
"At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19," the CDC added.
The agency said that until it learns more about how this virus affects animals, pet owners are advised to treat their animals as they would other human family members, in order to protect them from possibly being infected with the virus.
June 17, 2020
Dear Loyal Customers:
If anyone needs a refresher on what the CDC is advising pet owners regarding Covid-19, please see the following:
What you need to know
- A small number of pets worldwide, including cats and dogs, have been reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19.
- Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.
- It appears that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals in some situations.
- Treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people outside the household.
- If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets.
- This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some coronaviruses cause cold-like illnesses in people, while others cause illness in certain types of animals, such as cattle, camels, and bats. Some coronaviruses, such as canine and feline coronaviruses, infect only animals and do not infect humans.
Risk of people spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to pets
We are still learning about the virus that causes COVID-19, but it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations. A small number of pets worldwide, including cats and dogs, have been reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19.
Infected pets might get sick or they might not have any symptoms. Of the pets that have gotten sick, most only had mild illness and fully recovered.
What to do if you own pets
Until we learn more about how this virus affects animals, treat pets as you would other human family members to protect them from a possible infection.
Because there is a small risk that people with COVID-19 could spread the virus to animals, CDC recommends that pet owners limit their pet’s interaction with people outside their household.
- Keep cats indoors when possible and do not let them roam freely outside.
- Walk dogs on a leash at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from others.
- Avoid public places where a large number of people gather.
- Do not put face coverings on pets. Covering a pet’s face could harm them.
There is no evidence that the virus can spread to people from the skin, fur, or hair of pets. Do not wipe or bathe your pet with chemical disinfectants, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or any other products not approved for animal use.
Talk to your veterinarian if your pet gets sick or if you have any concerns about your pet’s health.
Protect pets if you are sick
If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), you should restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would with people. Until we know more about this virus, people sick with COVID-19 should avoid contact with pets and other animals.
- When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
- Avoid contact with your pet including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, sharing food, and sleeping in the same bed.
- If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.
If you are sick with COVID-19 and your pet becomes sick, do not take your pet to the veterinary clinic yourself. Call your veterinarian and let them know you have been sick with COVID-19. Some veterinarians may offer telemedicine consultations or other plans for seeing sick pets. Your veterinarian can evaluate your pet and determine the next steps for your pet’s treatment and care.
Stay healthy around animals
In the United States, there is no evidence that animals are playing a significant role in the spread of COVID-19. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low. However, because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals.
- Wash your hands after handling animals, their food, waste, or supplies.
- Practice good pet hygiene and clean up after pets properly.
- Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s health.
- Be aware that children 5 years and younger, people with weakened immune systems, and people 65 years of age and older are more likely to get sick from germs some animals can carry.
JUNE 8, 2020
Dear Loyal Customers:
HERE IS SOME ENCOURAGING NEWS:
Once more, testifying to the amazing abilities of animals, is the following positive and very encouraging update with the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
From CBS NY, we have learned that dogs are now being trained to sniff out COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Through scent, we know dogs have been able to detect cancer and other human diseases. Now Researchers indicate they may be getting closer to having dogs trained to sniff out Covid-19 coronavirus.
According to a new study by French scientists, we learn again, dogs may be able to sniff out Covid-19 in infected patients. The researchers, from the National Veterinary School in Alfort, challenged eight Belgian Malinois Shepherd dogs to identify coronavirus patients from odor samples taken from the armpits of more than 360 subjects, both healthy and suffering from Covid-19.
The dogs were selected from emergency services departments in Paris and Corsica, and from a dog training center in Beirut, Lebanon. All of the animals had previously been trained for work in search and rescue missions, detecting explosives or sniffing out colon cancer.
Researchers used armpit odor samples because they contained a strong chemical signal indicating a possible pathogen in the body, but not the virus itself, so as not to put the animals’ safety at risk.
In the test itself, which involved each dog doing between 15 and 68 identifications, four of the animals achieved a perfect score, while the others achieved an accuracy rate of between 83 and 94 per cent, the report said.
From MSN news, in a Finnish study, once again, dogs again learned to recognize the distinctive odor of a coronavirus infection.
In a pilot study at the University of Helsinki, dogs trained as medical diagnostic assistants were taught to recognize the previously unknown odor signature of the COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus. And the dogs learned with astonishing success only after only a few weeks where the animals identified the urine of people infected by the novel coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, almost as reliably as a standard PCR test.
Finnish scientists are now preparing a randomized, double-blind study in which the dogs will sniff a larger number of patient samples. Only then will the scent tests be used in clinical practice.
It is still unclear which substances in urine produce the apparently characteristic COVID-19 odor but it is assumed that SARS-CoV-2 also changes the patients' urine odor. This is something which the dogs, with their highly sensitive olfactory organs, notice immediately.
Certain diseases appear to have a specific olfactory signature that trained dogs can sniff out with amazing accuracy, explains Luca Barrett from the German Assistance Dog Center (TARSQ).
Dogs' ability to smell is about a million times better than that of humans. Humans have about 5 million olfactory cells, compared with 125 million for Dachshunds and 220 million for Sheepdogs.
Dogs also inhale up to 300 times per minute in short breaths, meaning that their olfactory cells are constantly supplied with new odor particles. In addition, dogs' noses differentiate between right and left. This spatial sense of smell allows the animals to follow a trail more easily.
During the training sessions, the dogs - mostly Labrador Retrievers or Retrievers in general, but also Cocker Spaniels or Sheepdog breeds - are each trained for one scent.
If the findings from Finland are confirmed, the sniffer dogs with their extremely sensitive sense of smell could prove to be a great help in the fight against the new coronavirus.
In the future, sniffer dogs could be used in situations where there is a high risk of infection. For example, people attending sports games and other major events could be checked before they are admitted.
The dogs could also be employed at airports to scan people entering a country or could also be used to search for the virus on surfaces. For example, before passengers are to board an aircraft, a dog could first check whether the plane is free from SARS-CoV-2. Similar measures are planned for doctors' surgeries, aged care homes or nursing homes where a sniffer dog could check whether the environment is "clean."
JUNE 8, 2020
Dear Loyal Customers:
My apologies for the delay in posting recent updates about Covid-19 and the coronavirus concerning our beloved pets and animals. I had unexpectedly been out of the office but I can now offer the following news updates.
In my absence, new information has emerged due to recent events and findings.
Point in case, is now a German Shepherd in New York has officially become the country’s first dog to test positive for the coronavirus a federal agency said last week.
But wait, didn’t we hear a few weeks ago that a North Carolina Pug had been the first dog in the USA to test positive?
Well here’s where we all have to remember that current information continues to change as Scientists and Researchers continue testing and learning more about Covid-19 and the coronavirus including the impacts on humans and animals.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Tuesday announced the German Shepherd is the first dog to test positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes a COVID-19 infection. The dog is expected to make a full recovery after showing signs of respiratory symptoms.
A private veterinary lab first tested the German Shepherd, resulting in a presumptive positive. The USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) later confirmed the results with its own test.
Yes, previously, we had been told that the first US dog to contract Covid-19 was a North Carolina Pug. As of June 03, 2020, news reports indicate that experts now say the Pug did not actually have the virus.
This current news contradicts previous reports of Winston, the Pug from North Carolina which was reported to be the first dog in the U.S. to be diagnosed with the coronavirus.
So, what went wrong with the Pug, Winston?
When the USDA stepped in to officially confirm the results, their tests came back negative. “No virus was isolated, and there was no evidence of an immune response” officials from the United States Department of Agriculture who later confirmed they were "unable to verify the virus" in Winston the Pug, USA Today reported.
In addition, there have been other reports of canines testing positive for the virus, such as a separate German Shepard in Hong Kong, two pet cats in New York have also been infected, while a a tiger in the Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19 in April.
The World Health Organization officials announced in April that several groups are investigating how animals get infected. The USDA also said it will work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with state and local animal and public health officials to make determinations about whether animals should be tested for SARS-CoV-2.
However, despite this latest news that obviously can be distressing to pet parents/animal owners, USDA officials say the chances your pet can infect you with the coronavirus is LOW, and there’s no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare.
At the end of the day, the take away is that our pets and animals are safe and we do not need to be afraid of them as a possible source of infection.
APRIL 28, 2020
Dog is apparently first in U.S. to test positive for new coronavirus
We learned yesterday (4-27-20), that the pet dog of a family taking part in a study at
Duke University is apparently the first in the U.S. to test positive for the virus that
Dr. Chris Woods, the lead investigator of the Molecular and Epidemiological Study of Suspected Infection (MESSI), confirmed in a statement to CBS News that, "To our knowledge, this is the first instance in which the virus has been detected in a dog. Little additional information is known at this time as we work to learn more about the exposure."
Early last month, Hong Kong health authorities said a coronavirus patients pet dog that tested positive for the virus was "likely" the first case of human-to-animal transmission.
WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina, which was first to report the U.S. development, said the dog, a pug named Winston, is part of a family in Chapel Hill. The mother, father and son in that household were enrolled in the study and tested positive as well, WRAL said. But another family dog and a cat didn't test positive. The family's lizard wasn't tested. The station quoted the mom, Heather McLean, a pediatrician at Duke, as saying Winston was having mild symptoms.
Ben McClean, the son, told WRAL that Winston "licks all of our dinner plates and sleeps in my mom's bed, and we're the ones who put our faces into his face. So, it makes sense that he got the virus."
According to WRAL, the McLean's daughter, Sydney, was the only family member who didn't test positive. Her husband works in the emergency room at UNC Hospitals.
In view of this recent report, it appears to endorse the need for the precautionary
measures the CDC has been recommending for pet owners as stated in previous Blogs.
The CDC has said dogs should also avoid public places where a large number of
people and animals gather, such as dog parks. If someone is ill with Covid-19 -- whether suspected or confirmed -- officials recommend having another member of the household care for pets. If that's not possible, people should wear cloth face coverings around animals, making sure to wash their hands before and after any interactions. And when people are sick, officials said they should refrain from petting or snuggling their pets -- and avoid being kissed or licked.
I would stress, little additional information is known that at this time as the researchers work to learn more about the exposure. It should be remembered, that with pet parents’ heightened level of concern for their pet(s) safety, the most important fact is as the CDC has emphasized, there is no evidence pets play a role in spreading coronavirus in the United States.
Instead, based upon these few reported cases of pets becoming infected, it would
appear the reverse is potentially true, that an infected pet owner can transmit the
coronavirus to their pet (s).
Once again, this finding underscores the importance of pet owners to follow the CDC recommendations for social distancing and other precautionary measures for their pet(s) protection, as for themselves and other people.
Updates as to this developing story will continue as they become available.
APRIL 23, 2020
Two cats in New York are first pets known to have coronavirus in the US
Yesterday, we learned that two cats in New York have been infected with the novel coronavirus, federal officials announced Wednesday. Both had mild respiratory symptoms and are expected to make a full recovery.
“These are the first pets in the United States to test positive", the US Department of Agriculture said Wednesday in a joint statement with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, with pet parents’ heightened level of concern for their pet (s) safety, the most important fact is that the agencies emphasized that there is no evidence pets play a role in spreading coronavirus in the United States. "There is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare", they said.
Officials are still learning about the potential impact of Covid-19 with pets/animals so for now, they continue to recommend social distancing for cats and dogs, too. The CDC continues to recommend that people limit interactions between their pets and people or animals outside the household.
Cats should be kept indoors when possible, the CDC said, and dogs should be walked on a leash, maintaining at least six feet from other people and animals.
The agency said dogs should also avoid public places where a large number of people and animals gather, such as dog parks.
If someone is ill with Covid-19 -- whether suspected or confirmed -- officials recommend having another member of the household care for pets. If that's not possible, people should wear cloth face coverings around animals, making sure to wash their hands before and after any interactions. And when people are sick, officials said they should refrain from petting or snuggling their pets -- and avoid being kissed or licked.
So good News! The take away is that there is still no need to be overly concerned about the potential impact of Covid-19 with our beloved pets but that social distancing and the other recommended precautionary measures should continue to be followed.
MARCH 30, 2020
Dear Loyal Customers,
In continuing our updates about Covid-19, the CDC has released the following
information for pet owners. As indicated earlier in our Blog, the bottom line for
pet parents is the CDC does not have evidence that companion animals,
including pets, can spread COVID-19.
- Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people and others cause illness in certain types of animals.
- Coronaviruses that infect animals can become able to infect people, but this is rare.
- We do not know the exact source of the current outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- We do not have evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19.
- We do not have evidence to suggest that imported animals or animal products imported pose a risk for spreading the 2019 novel coronavirus in the United States.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some coronaviruses cause cold-like
illnesses in people, while others cause illness in certain types of animals, such as
cattle, camels, and bats. Some coronaviruses, such as canine and feline
coronaviruses, only infect animals and do not infect humans.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U. S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
play distinct but complementary roles in regulating the importation of live animals
and animal products into the United States. CDC regulates animals and animal
products that pose a threat to human health; USDA regulates animals and animal
products that pose a threat to agriculture; and FWS regulates importation of
endangered species and wildlife that can harm the health and welfare of humans,
the interests of agriculture, horticulture, or forestry, and the welfare and survival
of wildlife resources.
Risk to people
Some coronaviruses that infect animals have become able to infect humans and
then spread between people, but this is rare. Severe acute respiratory syndrome
(SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) are examples of diseases
caused by coronaviruses that originated in animals and spread to people. This is
what is suspected to have happened with the virus that caused the current
outbreak of COVID-19. However, we do not know the exact source of this virus.
Public health officials and partners are working hard to identify the source of
COVID-19. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is
now spreading from person to person. The coronavirus most similar to the virus
causing COVID-19 is the one that causes SARS.
At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets,
can spread COVID-19 or that they might be a source of infection in the
Risk from imported animals and animal products
The CDC does not have evidence to suggest that imported animals or animal
products pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States.
How to stay healthy around animals In the United States, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets, livestock, or wildlife, might be a source of COVID-19 infection at this time. However, because all animals can carry germs that can make people sick, it’s always a good idea to practice healthy habits around pets and other animals.
- Wash your hands after handling animals, their food, waste, or supplies.
- Practice good pet hygiene and clean up after pets properly.
- Take pets to the veterinarian regularly and talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s health.
For more information, visit CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People website.
Risk to pets
The CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. Further studies are needed to understand if and how
different animals could be affected by COVID-19.
How to protect pets if you are sick If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed), you should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. This can help ensure both you and your animals stay healthy.
When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals
while you are sick. Avoid contact with your pet including, petting, snuggling,
being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be
around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact
with them. For more information visit: What to Do if You are Sick.
- COVID-19 and Animals FAQs
- Interim Guidance for Public Health Professionals Managing People with COVID-19 in Home Care and Isolation Who Have Pets or Other Animals
- Information on Bringing an Animal into the United States
MARCH 20, 2020
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has developed an initial list of "essential critical infrastructure workers" to help state and local officials as they continue their work to protect their communities while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. Although this list is advisory in nature, it should help answer some questions.
One such workforce identified are "animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed, and bedding, etc..."
Rest assure, Wholistic Pet Organics will continue daily operations to make sure your beloved pets get the products they need. We continue to update GMP and HACCP programs as more information becomes available to us.
For the full report please follow this link below:
- Be responsible and take precautions
- Be conscientious
- Be considerate of others
- Be kind
- Don't panic
MARCH 20, 2020
We are all aware of the impacts of Covid-19 and naturally we all remain concerned not only for our human health but also for our pets. There is much information coming and going and it still remains a challenge to discern fact from fiction.
Therefore, we are providing you with the most current information as per the CDC since they are considered to be the most reliable resource for information about Covid-19 and your pets.
Can my dog transmit COVID-19 to me by an encounter with a person infected with the virus?
The Center for Disease Control has issued guidelines for how pet owners should interact with their pets if they believe that they are sick with the virus or if their pet is exposed to others who have the virus.
It is recommended you should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people.
Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus.
When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.
If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.
These are precautionary directives because there is still not enough information about the COVID-19 virus. However, every leading healthcare organization has stressed that risk of transmission from a dog or a cat is extremely low.
If transmission were to occur, it is most likely that the pet would carry the virus from one part of the environment to another. An extreme example might be an individual who is sick with the virus, coughs into his or her hand and pets an animal. Shortly thereafter, another healthy individual touches the same part of animal, and then somehow gets the virus from his or her hand into an eye, nose, or mouth. Please remember that this is an extreme example and that there is only one documented case in the world of a pet that has tested positive for COVID-19.
If you are wondering what more can you do in an effort to protect your beloved cat or dog , Wholistic Pet Organics® suggests you consider adding to your pet’s daily diet one of the following immune bolstering dietary supplements:
- Wholistic Colostrum Powder™ is the first choice in providing purity, efficacy, and guaranteed quality for your pet with passive immunity (immunoglobulins IgA, IgM, IgG, lactoferrin) during times of stress, illness, and/or periods of recovery or for general immune function support. Can be given to both cats and dogs.
- Wholistic Ester C® is a patented, non-acidic, Body-Ready® form of Vitamin C that is easily absorbed for maximum effectiveness over other forms of Vitamin C. Dogs do produce some Vitamin C, but not nearly the amount that may be necessary for peak health. Under periods of elevated stress, Vitamin C is rapidly depleted.
- Wholistic Spirulina™ is a powerful blue-green algae rich in antioxidants and the best part of Spirulina is its immune-boosting abilities. By increasing the production of antibodies and white blood cells, Spirulina is giving your pet the means to fight germs and prevent illness. Can be given to both cats and dogs.
- Wholistic Wild Antartic Krill Oil contains high levels of powerful antioxidants including Vitamin A and E, and natural occurring astaxanthin. Antioxidants like astaxanthin have been shown to aid in the elimination of harmful molecules called “free radicals.
- L-Lysine Powder by Wholistic Pet Organics, is formulated to support your cat’s immune system by promoting the production of antibodies and enzymes within the immune system. To be given to cats only.
We will keep you, our valued customers, updated to any news regarding Covid-19 impacts to your beloved pets. We have pets too and love each and everyone like family! We are as concerned with their well-being as much as each of you are with your pets.
We, at Wholistic Pet Organics®, despite these uncertain times, continue to manufacture our animal health products on a daily basis here in the US. All online and shipping activities are still in place. Do not hesitate to contact us for any of our products to help meet your pet care needs.