Saturday, December 05, 2020


  1. macula_densa
    August 20, 2020 @ 5:57 pm

    The veterinary community is not responsible for the supposed lack of transparency. I am a veterinarian and a virologist, and the few cases of COVID-19 we know about in dogs and cats so far have either resulted in no illness or mild illness. Of the ones that have died, the cause appears to be unrelated to the virus. For example, a recent case reported in Staten Island appears to have died of lymphoma, not the virus, even though the dog did test positive for SARS-CoV-2. The media picked up another story about a dog in North Carolina last week, but so far I know nothing about the case at all (and this is likely because of health authorities and not the veterinary community at large).

    The reality is that there is little surveillance of household pets for the virus because it doesn’t generally make them sick, as evidenced by several laboratory studies conducted early on in dogs and cats. Dogs in particular seem resistant to the virus. For anyone that wants to know more about this, I highly recommend J. Scott Weese’s blog, where he writes extensively about what we do know.

    Rather than complaining about the lack of transparency, I urge people to understand that this is a new virus, and even we don’t know much about it at this point. What is abundantly clear, however, is that it does not affect pets on the same level as it does humans. If it did, there would be many more reported cases. As it stands right now, despite having millions of human infections, there are only a handful of cases that have been reported in pet animals. This does not mean that they cannot get the virus, but they are inefficient at transmitting it and generally do not have clinical signs associated with it, so we probably are not documenting many of these cases when they occur.

    As a result, it is difficult to report on these things when we 1) don’t know much about it ourselves and 2) aren’t really looking for it because the focus is on human infections. Again, this is largely because of health mandates and not veterinarians, as vets have been instructed to confer with public health officials on any suspected cases in pet animals, and these only occur very rarely.

  2. Emily Brill
    August 21, 2020 @ 6:34 am

    Good Morning,
    Thank you for your input. I think you and I agree: Yes, this is a new virus and nobody is an expert. Isn’t that more of a reason to study it extensively, not only in human patients, but in other species? Isn’t that the concept of One Health? That human health and animal health are interdependent (which, by the way, is the topic of Dr. Fauci’s AVMA address).

    And, if dogs are better at fighting the virus, shouldn’t we be able to explain why exactly dogs are better at fighting the virus off than, say, for example, cats? Or people?

    And, even if dogs are not likely to infect people, what about the dogs? If, indeed, these cases where dogs have died are truly the exception, wouldn’t that be a fact worth exploring? Or, if, as I suspect, the dogs all had serious underlying health conditions, perhaps even common conditions, at least we would be able to tell X segment of the dog-owning population to be especially cautious. The very point is that we don’t know. In the case of North Carolina, we don’t even know the age, breed, or gender of the dog.

    The other point here is that, just as health care workers treating human COVID-19 patients have taken it upon themselves to replace hysteria with facts, we at The Canine Review feel that those treating animals with COVID-19 have the same obligation to the public, to encourage the timely and thorough release of facts about the cases in order to encourage calm, coherent action based on facts. Veterinarians have the most interaction with an animal’s medical information. Public health authorities may assist or take on the role entirely of issuing press releases, but the information is most of these cases is with the state veterinarian Thank you again for reading.

    Best regards,
    Emily Brill
    Founder and Editor-in-Chief, The Canine Reviewe

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