Study suggests that stray dogs ate infected bat meat and spread Covid-19 to people

The suggestion that stray dogs contracted the disease and became a vector for it by eating infected bat meat comes from Professor Xuhua Xia from the University of Ottawa. The updated name for this novel coronavirus is Sars-CoV-2.

Study suggests that China's stray dogs have passed on the Covid-19 virus to people after eating infected bats.
5 elderly women take care of 1,300 stray dogs in China. Photo: Facebook. In public domain.

Sars-CoV-2 infected the intestines of the dogs, we are told. It is poor timing as China’s government has declared that dogs should no longer be classified as livestock but as pets as they are in the West.

We are also told that this virus is ‘pervasively expressed in the human digestive system’. That seems to mean in layperson’s language that the Sars-CoV-2 virus likes to reside in the human gut. This is supported by the fact that people suffering from Sars-CoV-2 can have digestive discomfort.

The findings appear to be disputed by Professor James Wood, head of the department of Veterinary Medicine and researcher in infection dynamics at the University of Cambridge. He said that he is unconvinced by the findings and remarked: ‘I do not believe that any dog owners should be concerned as a result of this work’.

The research was published online in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution. At the time of publishing this almost 2 million people have been infected with the virus. I have a premonition that this pandemic will rubble on for years. It is not going to be squashed out of existence by various methods including a vaccine. It may mutate and behave like classic flu but be 10 times more deadly. This will severely slow the process of countries getting on their feet economically. It is predicted that UK GDP will fall by 35%, a massive shock. I’ll predict that the crushing economic damage caused by lockdown will cause more deaths than Sars-CoV-2 in the long term. A disaster.

I am all doom and gloom I am afraid because humankind also has to readdress climate change which has been put on the backburner. The economic damage caused by Covid-19 will make less money available to tackle climate change and to protect the planet. Businesses which pollute the planet will not be minded to spend money on becoming more environmentally friendly. The pandemic will harm nature in the short term. In the long term humankind will have to change but it will be very painful. This is the beginning of that change. I did not think that it would happen in my lifetime.

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The death, by dogs, of my neighbor’s cat should have been avoided

Intro: this story is about keeping cats inside the home while making the home stimulating for inside cats.

Dogs killed cat
This picture is simply here to illustrate the page. These are not the dogs referred to in the story. Image in public domain.

BY KASS

My neighbors had a very street savvy kitty who always wanted to be outside. Callie would make her rounds to all her neighborhood friends and be back by 9:30 to be let in. Unfortunately my neighbors would visit family an hour away leaving her outside and not call her in. I would feed her.

She started coming to me every night so I could go knock on their door to let her in. And when their daughter went out of town they just seemed to leave Callie girl to her own devices. She was bitten by a snake on the nose, attacked by something and I paid those vet bills. Everything together made me contact Animal Control. They were coming Wednesday.

Monday evening I received a call from my neighbor that Callie was taken to the emergency vet and had passed away. She used to follow us as we walked our dogs and my pup loved her so I think she thought all dogs were okay. She got into a fenced in area with 3 dogs and another neighbor heard her screaming. She went to see what was happening and literally had to take my sweet Callie out of the dog’s mouth.

They rushed her to the ER vet but the damage to her little body was too much. These dogs were not new to the neighborhood. I don’t know why or how she ended up in their yard but but obviously the threat was always there.
You just never know.

It is my opinion that cats can be perfectly happy inside provided with toys, stimulation, cat towers, perches, window lookouts, etc.

Callie had none of this at her house which is probably part of the reason she wanted to be outside. I was truly surprised because I was more worried about the speeding cars.

I volunteer now to trap and reunite escapees and have not had a single one try to go back out after they’ve been found.
My Bella was a stray. We can leave the door open and she will just sit there not trying to leave. They also have a whole box of toys, other toys hanging throughout the house, window perches, cat towers and they’re played with often.
If they’re given the stimulation they need inside, they don’t look for it elsewhere.

I know my opinion differs from others but I will not adopt out one of my rescues to anyone if they do not plan to keep them indoor only and make sure they’re happy while doing so.

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Cats have had a bad rap concerning wildlife. Now it’s time to criticise dogs.

Domestic and feral cats have had a bad rap for years because of an ongoing campaign against them on account of their predation of wildlife. The campaign is intensifying. Conversely, there has been a lack of focus on dogs. For a strange reason we rarely read about how dogs, both domestic and feral, negatively impact wildlife and the environment. It’s time to rectify that wrong.

NOTICE: In truth we have no right to criticise cats or dogs because all the problems associated with these companion animals have their origins in human behavior and therefore humans should be criticised but I am playing the critics game.

Dogs attacking deer
Dogs attacking deer. BBC video screenshot.

I am pleased, therefore, to refer to an article on the BBC website dated 12 February 2019. I will try to summarise it.

It is said by scientists that dogs threaten nearly 200 species worldwide, some of them critically endangered. Dogs have contributed to the extinction of nearly a dozen wild bird and animal species.

There are an estimated 500,000,000 (half a billion) domestic, feral and stray cats on the planet. It is estimated that there are one billion (1bn) domestic dogs worldwide. We don’t know how many stray and feral dogs there are. Their numbers are rising. As there are more people on the planet there are more dogs and of course the same goes for cats.

As mentioned, 200 species are threatened by feral and stray dogs; 30 of the species are classified as critically endangered, 71 are endangered and 87 are vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List. The most sensitive regions are Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean and certain areas of Oceania.

Dogs affect wildlife because (a) they are predators and kill animals (b) they disturb the ecosystem (c) they transmit disease to wildlife (d) they compete with wildlife for prey and (e) they interbreed with certain related species.

For example, a scientist in Poland said:

“Through our camera traps we have found that dogs enter caves where lynx [a medium-sized wild cat species] take the prey animals they have killed, and we have footage showing dogs eating the carcasses,” said Izabela Wierzbowska, a scientist at the Jagiellonian University in Poland.

New Zealand studies have concluded that dogs have contributed to the extinction of at least eight species of birds. These include the New Zealand quail. On social media you will see feral dogs chasing and killing endangered species in various parts of the world.

The beautiful snow leopard has been recorded as being hounded by three feral dogs in Tibet and a polar bear has been surrounded by three stray dogs. In Chile, the world’s smallest deer, the pudu, is often attacked by stray dogs. Almost 70% of this deer species brought to rehabilitation centres had been attacked by dogs (study published in the scientific journal Oryx).

In Brazil it has been found that 37% of native species in more than 30 national parks have been affected by the presence of domestic dogs.

Dogs are threatening India’s great bustards in the state of Rajasthan. This is an endangered bird and less than 100 exist apparently.

Across the planet, it’s been concluded that dogs are transmitting notably rabies and canine distemper to wild animals (the director of species conservation with the VWF in Germany).

It is said that the critically endangered Ethiopian wolf repeatedly contracts rabies and canine distemper from stray dogs, and rabies in India and Nepal. In Europe experts are worried that stray dogs are interbreeding with wolves which poses a threat to the wolf species (c.f. the Scottish wildcat’s hybridisation with feral cats).

The issues about containing the population size of stray dogs and reducing it are the same as those for feral cats in my opinion. The big question is how to manage the dog population size humanely. I have never seen any discussions about how to do this but simply killing dogs as is the case with feral cats in Australia is not an option if we are to tackle the problem morally and humanely. As I understand it there are no comprehensive proposals to deal with this problem.

Let’s discuss the dog’s impact on wildlife more often.

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