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Dog tests Positive for COVID-19 in Ontario

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

A friend of mine shared this news article with me...

This is not really anything surprising, a dog that has tested positive for COVID-19, and is currently not experiencing symptoms. As Dr. Weese from Worms and Germs has previously said, dogs can "get" the virus SARS-CoV2, but thus far have not been ill from the virus (unlike cats). Check out this news article where they are interviewing Dr. Scott Weese (an expert in diseases in animals: Chief of Infection Control at the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College).

When a dog (or human) tests positive (and for the sake of this blog post - a true positive test, not a false positive test), they have detected the genetic material of the virus. The presence of a virus, does not mean that the dog will be sick. Nor will it necessarily amount an immune response (a.k.a. make antibodies towards the virus).

There is a very, very minute chance that if you meet a dog and it licks your unmasked face it can pass COVID-19 virions on to you and you can get sick. But this is very, very unlikely. The family members have tested positive, and likely got the virus from other people in their community, then passed this on to their dog, not the other way around.

In the vet clinic, we wear our masks when in close contact with our co-workers and when handling our patients, for our own protection and theirs. When a dog tries to be friendly and lick our faces while we are holding or examining in close proximity, we joke with the pups and tell them not to lick us and give us COVID - it's a joke, but we all know that dogs lick their butts and genitals, or consume raw meat and who-knows-what at the park, so we have other diseases to worry about if and when they lick our face, or lick our hands. If you work in a veterinary clinic, you should be washing your hands between each pet already. You would think that should go without saying.

We have already heard of asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 in people. So remember to use distance measures and wear your mask. For the general public, use appropriate hand washing prior to touching your face or eating. Plain and simple. If you own a dog, have your dog stay in its own social bubble too.


For more COVID-19 related blog posts you can head to the In the News page directly.

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