Cinnamon A. Dixon, DO, MPH, Rakesh D. Mistry, MD, MS –  Published: June 25,2020 –

Photo by Jay Heike on Unsplash

As the world grapples with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, unforeseen sequela and public health implications continue to mount. Hospitals battle to keep patients alive while balancing worker safety amid rationing of personal protective equipment. Researchers race to discover a vaccine while politicians, communities, and neighborhoods debate shelter-in-place and social distancing regulations. Families experience financial devastation and loss of loved ones while parents and grandparents become full-time home care providers and educators. Throughout all the chaos, uncertainty, and increased sharing of home spaces are our children and domesticated pets who are also, albeit unexpected, victims of COVID-19 sequelae and stresses. Canine companions being particularly susceptible to these stresses, as they live amongst the ever-present angst of their caregivers, thus complicating their usual steadfast interactions…
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and governmental directives to shelter-in-place, dog bite rates seem to be increasing. Our children’s hospital has experienced an almost 3-fold increase in rates of visits to the pediatric ED because of dog bites since our statewide “stay-at-home” order was instituted (Figure). High rates have persisted even amid recent relaxing of these regulations. To date, our institution’s incidence of ED visits for dog bites is more than double that of summer rates, when these injuries are typically most common.