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Brenda Bonnett

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Sources of accurate and relevant COVID-19 information for your dog, your puppies and you.

In the face of the great uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its impact on pets and pet owners, many veterinary and regulatory organizations have been providing excellent information and advice, as have kennel and breed organizations.  It is important to remember that recommendations and restrictions vary depending on location and owners need to access and follow local recommendations, especially as to issues around accessing veterinary care.  An additional challenge is that the advice and situation continue to change rapidly and what was known, thought or suggested last week may not hold next week. 

There are some aspects that apply regardless of location... including what we know (a little) and don't know  (a lot) about possible transmission to or from animals and humans. As with all information about this novel corona virus there is a lot of uncertainty about COVID-19 and pets;  basically we simply are leaning as we go.  Be very cautious about discussions and dire predictions on Facebook and social media from those who likely do not have the appropriate level of expertise.  Putting your trust in the types of sources described below is your best bet. 

At a local level, dog owners can look for information from their regional veterinary association and even your own veterinarian maybe providing updates.  For an example from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, you can see a short video and article here.  Prof. Scott Weese of the Ontario Veterinary College is referenced in that article and he has a recent blog post where he suggests that, in the face of the uncertainty and with an abundance of caution, "Social distancing and dog walking are compatible… with some common sense".   

two shelties.pngDr. Weese says, "To me, social distancing is a whole household activity, not just a human activity. If I wouldn’t go and shake someone’s hand, why would I let the same person pet my dog, and then touch the same spot on my dog myself right away? "  It is all about doing everything we can to reduce risk.  Be sure to keep up to date on recommendations and restrictions in your area.

For breeders, there are all the issues as for owners in addition to some major concerns about breeding, and rehoming litters.  Many of our partner national kennel clubs have been providing information and updates.  We have been sharing these on our channels, as again, some issues are the same globally; others are defined regionally.  See, e.g. Breeders and coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs from The Kennel Club in the UK, or Placing Puppies in the Age of COVID-19: Safety Advice for Breeders from the American Kennel Club.

There are many broader impacts for dog welfare and human-dog interactions that are developing with the COVID-19 situation.  Please check out Brenda's Blog: "DOGS ARE FOR LIFE, not just for Coronavirus." Within that blog you are also directed to an excellent discussion of unintended consequences from IPFD collaborator Ian Seath.  Our IPFD Board member and President of the German Kennel Club, Prof. Dr. Peter Friedrich, has posted a heartfelt statement that discusses many of the current challenges and those that we have left to face, even when we think things are starting to return to normal.  (In German, but perfectly understandable with google translator.)

Below are some links to sites and organizations that are doing a great job with information at an international level pulled together by our IPFD COO, Monique Megens, a Dutch veterinarian, living in Spain, and former president of FECAVA, one of the organizations on the front lines in Europe.

Mid-April 2020: What do we know about dogs and COVID-19 virus?

  • Although several dogs have tested positive to COVID-19 virus following close contact with infected humans, to date, there is no evidence that dogs play a significant role in spreading the disease.  Therefore, the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) states there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals, which may compromise their welfare.
  • When people are sick with COVID-19, when possible, close contact with dogs should be avoided; the dogs should preferably be taken care of by another member of the household, taking appropriate hygiene measures into account.
  • Studies are underway to better understand the susceptibility of and risks for other dogs. To stay up-to-date and for more information regarding dogs and COVID-19, go to the OIE website

puppy stethescope.jpgCan I still visit my veterinary surgeon

  • In many countries, veterinarians are considered to be an essential profession by their national authorities; therefore in most countries you can still visit your vet. However, some vets only see urgent cases; you should always call beforehand.
  • For more information: IPFD’s collaborating partner the Federation of European Companion Animal Practitioners (FECAVA) together with the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) have published advice for pet owners for visiting the vet.
  • Information for veterinary teams can be found locally and regionally at, for example  from American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and at IPFD’s collaborating partner the World Small Animal Veterinary Association's (WSAVA) website.

 

In all the craziness and concerns of this pandemic, dogs are a great support to their families.  Let's remember them in all the changes, planning and considerations we have for ourselves.  We are all in this together.

Stay safe .

 

OTHER RESOURCES:

En Francais - La Newsletter de la Centrale Canine - beaucoup d'excellentes ressources


auf Deutsch -  und weiser Rat von unserem IPFD-Vorstandsmitglied und Präsidenten des Deutschen Kennel Clubs, Prof. Dr. Peter Friedrich, Präsident des VDH. Corona virus

 

 

 

 

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Here is the majority of Dr Friedrich's translation: 

Dear dog friends,

Today, from my personal point of view, I would like to say a few words to you about the current situation at the VDH. Logically, the first priority is the health of all people, be they dog owners or not. It is indubitable for each and every one of us to avoid spreading Covid 19 disease (caused by the coronavirus) as far as possible. In many ways, although this often hits us hard, we have to accept cutbacks in terms of social life, work, finance, mobility and leisure activities. Fortunately, we can continue to provide our dogs with adequate care; and as family members and companions, the wagging four-legged friends are of greater importance than ever for most of us. But unfortunately, even when it comes to hobbies with the dog, nothing is what it was. Breeders with covered bitches and already born litters are just as unsettled as those who are thinking about the future of their breeding ambitions. Others find it difficult to do without sports and exhibitions. In many respects there is currently hardly any freedom of choice due to justified government measures. Regardless of the state restrictions, I would like to comment on a few facts.

I am particularly concerned with those periods in which legal requirements have been relaxed, but normal conditions are still far from being reached. For this period, the VDH recommends that visits to kennels that are already active are temporarily not carried out. New breeding facilities, where no first kennel inspection has yet been carried out, should not start their breeding activities until an initial breeding facility inspection is more reasonable and feasible. Depending on the possibilities, a type of litter acceptance should take place before the puppy is given, whereby the clubs are given more freedom of choice regarding the design in the current crisis period. Individual clubs are considering planning their litter acceptance in connection with veterinary vaccination for a few months in the future. Further litter inspections that take place before the litter acceptance should be avoided. Shifts in time are also permissible, and a suitable form of implementation must be observed. We expect that no exhibitions, performance tests, meetings etc. can be considered until the end of May because they are prohibited by the responsible authorities or imposed with hardly achievable conditions. More will then be seen. It is particularly painful for many of us that we cannot obtain breeding permits with our animals because the relevant tests have to be postponed. However, breeding may not continue without the correct breeding license of each individual dog; we are therefore required to be patient. Controlled breeding at the VDH is a quality feature that we are all committed to and that must also persist during this time. Relief in breeding approval is possible, clubs that are intended to have exhibition results as a condition for the breeding approval test can be dispensed with if a breeding judge on the breeding approval test in question thoroughly inspects the dog and the club takes a corresponding decision. Breeding approval events for individual dogs are permitted provided that they can be carried out without endangering everyone involved. A review of the behavior in a group of people must be omitted. Associations have the right to submit certificates for seminar visits in connection with activities or offices. I myself expect that a number of activities that are important to us cannot be carried out for a certain period of time. It is particularly disadvantageous that some highly questionable dog breeders outside the VDH are taking advantage of this situation and are increasingly offering puppies.

If you should ask yourself now whether it is right in a situation in which many human lives are threatened to carry out planning with regard to dog beings, it should be remembered that we have a great many inquiries about the topics listed. And of course our members have the right to get answers. It is not easy to find the right way and the right measure here. The VDH board and the management endeavor to lead the dog being through the current emergency times without exaggeration, but also without omission.

Please allow me one last comment. We are all frustrated right now because our lifestyle is severely impaired and we cannot achieve important goals. Even serious economic hardship threatens not a few members of our clubs and also one or the other club itself. It is all the more important, not inconsiderable..

 

Also, the reference to the AKC publication on "Placing Puppies in the Age of Covid-19... " article makes some excellent points and most importantly for non-veterinary-schooled canine enthusiasts directs readers to the AKCBreeder Education Courses available through the AKC, which are an excellent source of very basic information on canine health.  For the more curious, I have also found that non-DVM-educated individuals can obtain subscriptions to AVMA peer-reviewed publications and research journals through the AVMA website for a minimal subscription fee without paying the full $400 annual membership.  

 

Tons of information here in the above article and what with so many people being home, now is a great time for making this study information available to advance IPFD Members' learning.  Thank you for posting!

Dave

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The situation in Ireland has developed to an extent where all breed clubs have been inundated with enquiries for puppies of all breeds (400  enquiries for mini schnauzers within 2 weeks of lockdown) .Enquiries are still happening but the pedigree breeding plans are way behind demand as most breeders were intent on showing until the "season" was cancelled. Travel restrictions put paid to planned  matings as  such travel was deemed non essential and  publicised fines and one imprisonment ( for 3 weeks)  for breaking the restrictions to collect pups also saw commercial establishments affected. Meanwhile the number of pups available through online general trading sites  has diminished, though the few pups  available have grossly inflated prices attached. What is disturbing is the increase in theft of pups , sometimes entire litters, and older dogs as evidenced by newspaper reports, social media posts etc.  I wonder if the same is happening in other countries?

On the glass half full side there has been some research on the increase in adoptions from Israel which  makes happier reading https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/s9k4y/?fbclid=IwAR0jroBPyQm-cQGdSyeypsGyxMwsgCp69Fi83OJN5g5o6FjKXI189qWB8AI

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    The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and represent the opinion of the author(s), and not that of the International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD). This is not intended to be a substitute for professional, expert or veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We do not recommend or endorse any specific tests, providers, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on, or linked to from this blog.

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