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Operational K9s in the COVID-19 World

Fall 2020

Gray BO, St. George D, Cativo M, Tagore A, Ariyaprakai N, Palmer LE. 20(3). 103 - 108. (Journal Article)


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCov- 2) is hypothesized to have originated from a spillover event from an animal reservoir. This has raised many questions, with an important one being whether the widely disseminated coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is transmissible to other animal species. SARS-CoV-2 is primarily transmitted person to person. K9-to-human transmission, although theoretically possible via fomites, is considered minimal, if at all, and there have been no reported cases of K9-to-human transmission. Human-to-K9 transmission, although rare, seems more likely; however, in only one case has a K9 been suspected to have displayed symptoms of COVID-19. Preparation, decontamination, hand hygiene, and distancing remain the key factors in reducing transmission of the virus. The information presented is applicable to personnel operating within the military conventional and Special Operation Forces as well as civilian Tactical Emergency Medical Services communities who may have the responsibility of supporting an operational K9.

Keywords: canine; transmission; disease; COVID-19; Coronavirus; pandemic; SARS-CoV-2

PMID: 32969012

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