Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Updated 3/31/2020.

Leader Dogs for the Blind is closely monitoring the outbreak of the novel coronavirus that causes 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.

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 can spread 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.

There have been reports of dogs in China that have tested positive for COVID-19.  The pet dogs that tested positive are being cared for and neither has shown any signs of being ill with COVID-19. Furthermore, infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets can spread COVID-19 to other animals, including people. However, because animals can spread other diseases to people and people can also spread diseases to animals, it’s a good idea to always wash your hands before and after interacting with animals

Out of an abundance of caution, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends you take the same common-sense approach when interacting with your pets or other animals in your home, including service animals. If you are positive for COVID-19, you should tell your physician and public health official that you have a pet or other animal in your home. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. While we are recommending these as good practices, it is important to remember there is currently no evidence that pets can spread COVID-19 to other animals, including people.

The AVMA has released FAQs for pet owners about COVID-19, which is a reliable source of information for all the questions you may have regarding COVID-19 and your dog. You can read them here.

Thank you,

David Smith, DVM

Kelly Wilson, DVM

All on-campus group events and public tours are cancelled/postponed through April 30. 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 and April 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.

Get Leader Dog updates straight to your inbox.