Pets and CoronaVirus: UPDATE

UPDATE: May 14, 2020:

Study confirms cats can become infected with and may transmit COVID-19 to other cats

Scientists report that in the laboratory, cats can readily become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and may be able to pass the virus to other cats.

UPDATE April 22, 2020:

2 New York Cats Become the First U.S. Pets to Test Positive for Coronavirus

Associated Press–Two pet cats in New York state have tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the first confirmed cases in companion animals in the United States…The two cats live in different parts of the state…The cats, which had mild respiratory illnesses and are expected to recover, are thought to have contracted the virus from people in their households or neighborhoods…U.S. authorities say that while it appears some animals can get the virus from people, there’s no indication the animals are transmitting it to human beings.

UPDATE April 8, 2020: Pets and Coronavirus


Cats can catch coronavirus, study finds, prompting WHO investigation

(Reuters) – Cats can become infected with the new coronavirus but dogs appear not to be vulnerable, according to a study published on Wednesday, prompting the WHO to say it will take a closer look at transmission of the virus between humans and pets.

The study, published on the website of the journal Science, found that ferrets can also become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the scientific term for the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease…In ferrets, the virus was found in the upper respiratory tract but did not cause severe disease…

Dogs, chickens, pigs and ducks are not likely to catch the virus.

The study, based on research conducted in China in January and February, found cats and ferrets highly susceptible to the virus when researchers attempted to infect the animals by introducing viral particles via the nose.

They also found cats can infect each other via respiratory droplets. Infected cats had virus in the mouth, nose and small intestine. Kittens exposed to the virus had massive lesions in their lungs, nose and throat.

“What these data do provide is support for the recommendation that people who are with COVID-19 should be distancing themselves, not only from other household members but also from their household pets, so as not to transmit the virus to their pets, particularly to cats or other felines.”

-Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, head of infectious diseases, Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Journal Reference: Shi, J., et al. Susceptibility of ferrets, cats, dogs, and other domesticated animals to SARS–coronavirus 2, Science Journal, 08 Apr 2020:eabb7015.  DOI: 10.1126/science.abb7015  Research article


Pets and Coronavirus Report: March 5, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19), the virus health officials are monitoring as it spreads across the globe, has many pet owners concerned.  At this point in time, those involved in monitoring the virus and experts in pet health agree that pet dogs and cats can contract the virus from humans.

human-pet coronovirus

Pet Dogs and Cats cannot spread the virus to humans

The latest information coming from observational monitoring at the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department  is: Pet cats and dogs cannot pass the new coronavirus (COVID-19) on to humans, but they can test positive for low levels of the pathogen if they catch it from their owners.  “There is currently no evidence that pet animals can be a source of infection of COVID-19 or that they become sick.”

Humans can spread the virus to their pet dogs and cats

Experts from the School of Public Health of The University of Hong Kong, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences of the City University of Hong Kong and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) have unanimously agreed that the dog has a low-level of infection and it is “likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission.”

Experts have recommended that any pets, including dogs and cats, from households where someone has tested positive for the virus should be put into quarantine.

Recommendation to pet owners

Pet owners should maintain good hygiene, including washing hands before and after handling animals, their food and supplies and no kissing them. People who are sick should avoid contact with pets and a veterinarian’s advice should be sought if changes in a pet’s health conditions are detected. (AP)



In a related story:

Coronavirus: Bronx zoo tiger tests positive for Covid-19

A tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City who developed a dry cough and loss of appetite after contact with an infected zookeeper tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday.