Worms & Germs Blog

Promoting Safe Pet Ownership

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There’s an interesting report that pets of people with COVID-19 in Seoul (and soon other areas) will be tested for SARS-CoV-2 for free. This comes on the heels of (surprising) identification of an infected cat. It’s an interesting response and it’s nice to see. Pros We get more info about human-pet transmission We might get more info about potential mutation development in pets Infected pets can be isolated (whether they pose a risk is…
I’ve written about this before and done a variety of interviews on the subject, but it keeps coming up. Can dogs be used for COVID control? The answer is (as with many things about this virus), less than clear. My current answer is….maybe….in some situations…..potentially. Nice and clear, eh? Let’s break it down. Can dogs detect SARS-CoV-2? Presumably not. The virus should have no smell. Can dogs detect SARS-CoV-2 infection? It looks like it, at…
There are lots of SARS-CoV-2 variants out there. The virus changes a bit all the time.  However, there’s a lot of, well, concern about a few particular “variants of concern” (VOCs). VOCs are “OC” because they have mutations that could increase their infectivity (i.e. ability to infect people), their virulence (i.e. severity of disease they cause) or decrease the effectiveness of current vaccines or antibody-based treatments. There are a few main VOCs currently circulating, but…
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many major agencies took a head-in-the-sand approach to concerns about the potential for SARS-CoV-2 to infect different animal species. Fortunately,  over the last year a considerable amount of work has been done to help figure out the range of species that are susceptible to this virus, and shed some light on how animal populations might ultimately impact control of the virus, based on the potential for for infecting…
We know cats are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, and it appears that human-to-cat transmission may be pretty common in households where people have COVID-19. In the big picture, that’s probably not a huge issue, since most cats that get infected show no signs or develop only mild disease, and most infected cats have limited opportunity to spread the virus outside their own household. However, we still need to understand more about infection in cats and other…
I usually link blog posts to Tweets, rather than re-hash my Twitter musings (weese_scott) on the blog, but two things I posted on Twitter today may be of interest here. COVID-19 in captive gorillas Not surprisingly, COVID-19 has been identified in captive gorillas, in this case at the San Diego zoo.  It’s suspected that the gorillas were infected by an asymptomatically infected keeper, despite the intense precautions that have been taken to try to…
I usually link blog posts to Tweets, rather than re-hash my Twitter musings (weese_scott) here, but two things I posted there today may be of interest. COVID-19 in Gorillas Not surprisingly, COVID-19 has been identified in gorillas. Two gorillas at the San Diego zoo have been infected by an infected keeper. That’s completely unsurprising since we assume our close relatives, gorillas (and other non-human primates) are assumed to be susceptible. With COVID-19 rampant in…
Here’s the latest version of our pandemic guidance document for Ontario veterinary clinics, produced in collaboration with the OVMA.  Previously entitled “A guide to reopening veterinary medicine in Ontario” it has been retitled “A guide to mitigating the risk of infection in veterinary practices during the COVID-19 pandemic (04-Jan-2021)“. Previous versions of the guidance and other related documents can be found on the Worms & Germs COVID-19 Veterinary Resources page.  …
The new SARS-CoV-2 strain circulating in the UK (technically called SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01, or B.1.1.7 – see “what’s in a name” below) has raised a lot of concern internationally. The fact that we have a mutant strain of the virus isn’t surprising. There are countless mutant strains out there already. Viruses like this naturally change over time. Usually the changes are fairly irrelevant in terms of how the virus behaves, though they can still be…