Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Updated 5/1/2020.

Leader Dogs for the Blind is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19, which continues to spread across the U.S. and the world. On March 10, two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in southeast Michigan. This prompted us to enact protocols to reduce the risk of infection for our clients, team members, volunteers, visitors to our campus and others who may interact with Leader Dog personnel. At this time, Michigan is under a Stay Home, Stay Safe order until May 15.

The broad guidelines for how we will be operating are outlined below. We will continue to monitor the situation daily and will provide more updates on our approach as information becomes available from the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local authorities.

According to the CDC, there is no evidence at present that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats are a significant factor in spreading the new coronavirus.

Statement from Leader Dog's veterinary team on COVID-19 and dogs

At Leader Dogs for the Blind, we are committed to keeping our dogs and our clients safe. There has been a lot of information surrounding the current global situation with COVID-19, with a lot of unanswered questions and we wanted to reassure you of what we do know at this time.

At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people and to other animals is considered to be low. A small number of pets have been reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after contact with people with COVID-19. However, it is still good practice to always wash your hands before and after interacting with your dog.

We recommend that if you are positive for COVID-19, you follow the CDC recommendations of limiting contact with your dog, including no sharing food, bedding, being kissed or licked, and no snuggling. If you must care for your dog while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact, and wear a cloth face covering.

You can read more about COVID-19 and animals on the CDC's FAQs page.

Thank you,

David Smith, DVM

Kelly Wilson, DVM

All on-campus group events and public tours are cancelled/postponed through the end of May. The campus gift shop is closed until further notice (the online store is still available).

All non-essential personnel are working from home. Communications and fulfillment of donor recognition items may be delayed. Team members continue to come to campus to care for all dogs while maintaining social distancing guidelines and increased cleaning/sanitizing requirements.

The veterinary clinic is not holding elective appointments until further notice. The vet clinic remains staffed for emergency and urgent care only for puppy raisers and breeding hosts. The clinic continues to service all dogs in training.

March, April and May classes have been postponed for all clients.

Because the state of the coronavirus is changing every day, Leader Dog will be monitoring the situation and, if needed, will update our approach as information becomes available from the WHO, CDC and local authorities. We will be communicating with constituents and the public to keep everyone informed about what we are doing to try to keep the Leader Dog community and the community at large safe.

You can find out what life at Leader Dog has been like a week after the first confirmed cases on our blog.

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