By and For People Who Shape The Sport Of Dogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

DOG SHOWS AND THE COVID ERA

Fred Lanting, International and AKC Judge

 

What to do about COVID, masks and mandates if and when dog shows open up in 2022 when your sheltered puppies have become Open Class adults!

 

Amid nonstop coverage on COVID cases, vaccine and mask mandates, mention of COVID-19’s origin or its psychological effect on shut-in pets and people is rare.

 

 

Coronavirus and its “variants” are rising in 2022 and dog owners continue to suffer from lack of social contact, something vital to the health of both humans and dogs. Think about the mental and emotional impact the quarantine/lockdown has had on domestic animals.

 

House pets suffer along with their owners. If you have a fenced yard, that helps, but then there’s this: Pets worldwide, including cats and dogs, have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people who have COVID-19. {Ref #1}

 

Does what we call it matter? Yes! An epidemic is the rapid spread of disease to a large number of people in a given population within a short period of time. People mistakenly call the Covid-19 outbreak of 2020 (actually started late-2019) an epidemic but the accurate designation is: a pandemic.

 

A pandemic is the spread of a disease that becomes prevalent over a wide geographic area such as one or more countries or continents, or the world. Malaria is one example. The 1918 flu was also a pandemic, claiming millions of lives. Covid qualifies…

 

It typically takes many cases and many months before the full nature (cause, progression, susceptibility, etc.) of a new pandemic is revealed. Animals might carry the “germs” (actually, virus particles/macromolecules, which are smaller than bacteria and often mutate into different varieties) but so far, humans (so far) are the only species affected.

 

Hold your breath… there have been many viral diseases that have “jumped” across the species boundaries.

 

 

Dog shows have been cancelled, exhibitors and judges and show chairmen losing prepayments for arenas, motels, and airlines which will not indefinitely extend dates. I have had clubs tell me of new future dates based on wispy wishes that the pandemic will blow over in less than a year.

 

Quarantine and incoming-travel rules have wreaked havoc with show plans. For example, I had to cancel one assignment because the airport was in a state that denied travelers from my state, even though the show I was to do was just over the border in an adjacent state.

 

A few Coronavirus-age dog show events have been carried out, with sensible cautions. One show I judged was held outdoors (under a high roof, though) with plenty of room between exhibitors’ set-ups, and people standing at reasonable distances from each other. There were plenty of “wipes” and dog dentition exams done with minimal contact and more distancing than previously.

 

I put my mask aside for show-win photos; some judges keep them on. But unless we shout or cough at each other, I can’t imagine much risk during those short minutes.

 

At another show, we judges were able to officiate in separate buildings of an exhibition center, so there was almost no crowding anywhere except momentarily when entering the ring..

 

If you attend a dog show, here are some factoids and ideas that you should pack in your kitbag: researchers have found that coronavirus remains active on human skin for nine hours (5 times longer than flu), so there is need for frequent handwashing. The “easy” spread is person-to-person contact.

 

 

If you are a dog show judge, just check the bite and the premolars. In 99% of breeds, missing teeth are not a problem other than premolars. If you have to help an exhibitor push the tongue away, use a hand-wipe before going on to the next dog. Posing for the win photo? Take off the mask but literally, keep your mouth shut and don’t “face” the exhibitor or talk to them during the photo-shoot.

 

We can still have fun competing in shows. Proximity to carriers is not a guarantee of transmission. In fact, I’ve seen many families living in the same house where one person had Covid, but the others never contracted the disease! Sensible care without panic will almost surely be sufficient prevention. Progress in the battle is being made. Despite recent evidence that people who’ve recovered from this virus can indeed contract it again, I think (hope) that eventually, it will “go away” or at least become far less common. Something to pray for and work toward.

 

See you at the shows (someday!). P.S. Latest info indicates that COVID might also affect some animals (example: zoo tigers, etc.) or at least be spread from one human to another via them. Stay Safe...

 

Reference #1: Coronavirus In Dogs And Cats


Fred Lanting is an all-breed judge with experience in over 30 countries. He is a well-known Shiba breeder and GSD authority. He handled Akitas in the 1960s and `70s, and was named an official JKC judge, a rare honor. He has lectured around the world on breeding, judging, canine movement, and CHD (canine hip dysplasis).   Be sure to peruse these Dog Books by Fred Lanting


TheJudgesPlace.com EST 2005 Dec 2021 http://www.thejudgesplace.com/Judges-view/dogs-and-the-covid-era-f21L124.asp

 

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