Prof. J. Scott Weese

An expert in infectious disease at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) is being recognized for his work supporting Ontario veterinarians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Scott Weese, director of U of G’s Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses and a veterinary internal medicine specialist in the Department of Pathobiology, has received the 2021 Award of Merit from the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA).

The award recognizes a veterinarian who has demonstrated exemplary public service and has made extraordinary contributions to the veterinary profession.

Since the pandemic began, Weese has been in demand as a spokesperson for the veterinary community by national and international media outlets. He has offered evidence-based advice on the susceptibility of animals to SARS-CoV-2, the potential for disease spread between animals and people, and how to modify front-line veterinary care to ensure the safety of animals, workers and clients.

Working with the OVMA, he created a guide to help veterinary clinics safely continue operations. Its detailed advice ranges how to establish services that can be offered safely, to effective disinfecting and social distancing practices. As protocols developed and restrictions changed, he continued to revise the guide to ensure veterinary practices had up-to-date information.

The guide has since been referenced by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association and state veterinary medical associations.

Through his popular Worms and Germs blog, Weese published pandemic-related evidence-based educational posts for the public and veterinary community.

“Dr. Weese selflessly volunteered his time and expertise over and over again to ensure the continued health of veterinary staff, clients, patients and the veterinary profession as a whole during this very difficult period,” said Doug Raven, OVMA’s CEO. “He went above and beyond the call of duty to guide the profession through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Weese is now investigating the global management of COVID-19 using a One Health approach, in which human and animal health experts collaborate to manage infectious disease. Another study is focused on examining connections between COVID-19 in humans and their pets.

Weese is also chief of infection control at the OVC Health Sciences Centre and was inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) in 2020. CAHS Fellows are outstanding leaders and innovators in the academic health sciences in Canada.