Worms & Germs Blog

Promoting Safe Pet Ownership

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It was surprising to see what things sold out early in the pandemic: toilet paper, yeast, exercise equipment…. and chicken coops. Yes, there was a run on chicken coops. It seems like a lot of people decided to get backyard chickens in response to all the COVID-19 restrictions. Any human-to-animal contact has a mixture of risks and benefits (just like any human-to-human contact). Mental, social and emotional aspects of pet (including backyard chicken) contact are…
Round two of my COVID in animals summaries…. Are dogs susceptible to this virus? Yes…but…not very…maybe.  Depends what you mean by ‘susceptible’.  Nice and clear, eh? There’s a difference between being infected and being sick. Yes, dogs can become infected. However, they don’t seem to be as susceptible as cats and it’s debatable whether they get sick (more on that below). Regardless, it’s clear that the virus can infect dogs. This has been shown in…
I’ve let the blog slip over the past week so it’s catch-up time. (I’ve been busier on Twitter….weese_scott if anyone wants to follow that). Anyway, I wanted to get back to some COVID discussion and rather than a multi-species update, I figured I’d back up and focus on an overview of one species at a time. We’ll start with cats (so it will be longer than a typical blog post). Are cats susceptible to this…
Here’s a quick update on some recent feline studies on SARS-CoV-2. Some come with the increasingly common disclaimer that they are pre-prints, meaning the studies haven’t yet undergone peer review by other scientists in the field. Cats in Hong Kong (Barrs et al. Emerg Infect Dis 2020) This study has undergone peer review, and provides a nice description of Hong Kong’s efforts early in the pandemic. They had the most comprehensive response to…
I’ve written before about COVID-19 detection dogs. I get lots of questions about them and various groups are working in the area. There’s been a mix of encouraging and pretty bad information in preliminary releases and journal pre-print sites. A dog’s nose is a wonderful thing (except when my dog sticks his in places I don’t want it to go), and dogs have been shown to be able to detect a wide range of…
The UCLA Department of Epidemiology is seeking volunteers to participate in the Veterinary and Zoonotic Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and Other Coronaviruses Study, a study of animal healthcare and welfare workers, in order to assess their potential exposures to SARS-CoV-2 and other zoonotic pathogens, clinical symptoms, mental health, and attitudes and practices associated with the pandemic response. To be eligible, you must work with or around animals, for example: those who work in a veterinary…
The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, is seeking volunteers to participate in their Veterinary and Zoonotic Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and Other Coronaviruses Study.  Their goals are to assess potential exposures to SARS-CoV-2 and other zoonotic pathogens among veterinary and animal healthcare workers, as well as clinical symptoms, mental health, and attitudes and practices associated with the pandemic response. To be eligible to participate, you must work with or around animals,…
An abstract in the upcoming ECCVID Conference (ESCMID conference on coronavirus disease) has some of our very preliminary Canadian dog/cat surveillance data (Beinzle, Marom and Weese, SARS-CoV-2 infection in pets). A press release went out about it from the conference that’s been picked up by various news agencies, resulting in some articles about the study that are a bit alarmist.  As is typical with zoonotic diseases, we’re trying to walk the fine line between…
A group of us wrote a Letter to the Editor of Lancet in response to a One Health paper. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t published, but  we think it’s an important message. A Call to Action for a One Health approach in COVID-19 and Beyond While we echo Amuasi and colleagues’ call for a One Health COVID-19 Research Coalition1, we urge the scientific community to genuinely embrace a cross-disciplinary approach. Oblivion to One Health principles has…
A couple of months BC (before COVID-19), I was planning a live simulation exercise for our hospital. The goal was to see how well we could identify and handle a nasty, reportable zoonotic disease, and to look at our personal protective equipment training and needs (COVID-19 helped with that last one, at least). Here’s the test scenario we were going to use:  A cat is presented with fever, lethargy and cough, with rapid progression to…