Latest on Pets and COVID-19; Raising Money to Learn About Heart Disease in Cats on WGN Radio


Dr. Dana Varble

Dr. Dana Varble, chief veterinary officer of North American Veterinary Community, has been updating her colleagues regarding COVID-19 and pets, on Steve Dale’s Pet World HERE on WGN radio she updates all of you.

She answers the big questions: Do pets get COVID-19? Can they give COVID-19 to one another? Can they give COVID-19 to us?

Dr. Varble explains how cats are a bit more susceptible (compared to dogs).

If you can – keep your cat indoors

There’s still totally no reason to ever give up a pet because of concern that the dog/cat will get COVID-19.

Dr. Varble does explain why it’s best to keep cats indoors now more than ever.

Also, the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) is partnering with VCA Animal Hospitals and Banfield Pet Hospital to launch the inaugural VMX Virtual Job Fair June 24, 3 to 6 p.m. EDT to connect prospective employers and job seekers in the veterinary community anywhere in the world in a highly immersive and unique 3D experience. RSVP here.

Ricky Piano Playing Cat and Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy


Listen HERE to Dr. Chris Menges, chief veterinary officer of Basepaws. Dr. Megnees and I are teaming up May 30 for a free webinar on heart disease in cats, and my piano playing cat named Ricky. I explain how and why I created a fund, called the Ricky Fund with the non-profit funder of cat health studies, the Winn Feline Foundation.

Dr. Menges begins by explaining what feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is – and just how common it is, and which cats might be most susceptible.

We talk about management of HCM, but what veterinarians can do is somewhat limited. There is no magic drug. Hence the real need to do more research and that is exactly why the Ricky Fund exists.

This is over 20 years ago now – what computer terminals looked like, and Ricky visiting WGN Radio

I talk about how my cat Ricky would love to appear on local and radio TV and radio. On WGN radio, he once just about knocked Steve King and Johnnie Putman off the air. Ricky played the piano, but could also jump through hoops, jump over dogs on a down/stay, run through tunnels, and when asked he would sit and offer a high five. He spent some of each day just sitting on my shoulder.

Feline HCM a Silent Killer: And a Piano Playing Cat Named Ricky is a free program to attend. Dr. Menges will talk about HCM and how to look for early signs of this common disease. I will discuss cat training in general, and how it is that my cat came to be a prodigy at the keyboard. I’ll even play audio from one of the two occasions which radio legend Paul Harvey featured Ricky.

For every DNA kit purchased through the end of the May, Basepaws wll donate $5 to the Ricky Fund. The DNA test is simply fun – telling you all you need to know, sharing secrets about your cats’ genetics that your cat isn’t telling you about.

Also, if you do have a cat you know has HCM you can help other cats. Basepaws wants a cheek swap of your kitty. The goal is to further characterize the genetic basis of specific traits and diseases which are currently unknown. The goal is for the work to further the understanding of the complex relationships between genetic variations and their physical expression of HCM. Learn more HERE; there is no fee for this.

Pangolins, llamas, bats and sharks being studied to learn more about SARS CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.