AVMA President on COVID-19 and Pets; State of Chicago Animal Shelters on WGN Radio


The most authoritative source at this time when we are so desperate for information regarding COVID-19 and pets is the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Dr. John Howe

On Steve Dale’s Pet World on WGN Radio, listen HERE as I began this show speaking  with Dr. John Howe, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. My first question is what is everyone’s mind: Can a human get COVID-19 from a companion animal or give COVID-19 to a companion animal? And Dr. Howe answer with great confidence.

The are people who actually – based on Internet fodder – want to use vaccines for animal corona viruses on themselves. Dr. Howe notes that a vaccine for another species won’t cross-protect (protect against a human corona virus), what’s more using a vaccine meant for another species can be very dangerous.

We also talk about the potential of getting COVID-19 by petting a dog or cat that a person with the virus recently touched.

We note that the diagnostic lab IDEXX tested thousands, not finding a single positive among thousands of test subjects. I add that of the thousands and thousands of COVID-19 families around the world with pets,  there are. so far, only two dogs and perhaps one cat with a positive, as far as anyone knows. And while the cat may have had medical signs (that remain unclear), the dogs did not. We discuss the difference between infected and infectious.

If, however, if someone in the home is positive for COVID-19, the AVMA suggests it’s prudent to have another family member take over pet care and interactions.

Of course, there are medical and psychological benefits to petting and playing with our pets.

HEAR Dr. Howe’s heartfelt statement, thanking veterinary professionals and pet owners as well.

As you seek information, the AVMA is a superb resource.

State of Chicago Shelters

One of those Internet stories traveling all across web is that people are giving up their dogs and cats fearing that the pets will get COVID-19 and transmit the virus to humans. Tracy Elliott, president of the Anti Cruelty Society notes that as far as he knows, this is only an Internet rumor. In fact, in the Chicago area – and across the nation – adoptions and especially fosters are way up.

Chicago, he says, responded quickly and shelters are helping one another.

One question, though, depending on how long facilities will remain shut down, financially will they be able to hold on?  Also, what if unemployment rates skyrocket even further, will people then relinquish pets? We also discuss the pet food pantry system in Chicago.

Drug Used for Corona Virus for Cats May Help People

I talk about that being on the Board of the Winn Feline Foundation, a non-profit funder of cat health studies. Winn funded a study for a pharmaceutical nearly identical to Remdesivir to be used for feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)in cats. FIP had always been considered fatal, but this drug, GS-441424, worked in clinical trails to cure FIP. Now the U.S. Government has issued trials of Remdesivir.