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Dogs detecting/transferring COVID-19

Updated: Jun 12, 2020

There is one real bright spot on the horizon in the battle to defeat this pandemic – and of course it will be the d

ogs who help us do it. According to, there is a new program at Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine which is trying to apply a dog’s ability to sense disease to Covid 19. Researchers are hopeful that dogs can find the scent of Covid19 as they do wit

h cancer and many other diseases. Meanwhile, Most concerning to pet people is getting a final answer on whether or not Covid-19 is zoonotic – i.e., is it capable of human/animal transmission. But as in everything else about the pandemic, conflicting statements emerge.

Early on, the Center for Disease Control stated “At this time there is no evidence that...pets might be a source of infection in the U.S.”” The most recent posting says “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. CDC is aware of a small number of pets, including dogs and cats, to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19. Only a few of the pets reported to be positive showed signs of illness” They are, in other words, asymptomatic.

There are other cases. In addition to the pug in Chapel Hill, NC, diagnosed with the disease along with family members (“the dog licks our plates”), an AKC staff article cites: two pet dogs and two pet cats in Hong Kong , two pet cats in New York, a cat in Belgium – and eight big cats at New York’s Bronx Zoo – as testing positive. Of the 7 pets, 5 were living with Covid-19 confirmed cases . No info on who might have been living with the tigers.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has an excellent website section on Covid-19 and pets. Of special interest, when concerned with human/ animal transmission, is the following: If you are ill ... restrict contact with your pets...have another member of your household care for your pets... avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding.


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