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COVID-19 and Animals

Is it possible for some animals to become infected of COVID-19 virus? Is it necessary for COVID-19 testing in animals?

By asrPublished 4 years ago 3 min read

It’s possible for some animals to become infected of COVID-19 virus through close contact with infected humans.

Untill right now, data from OIE, there are 4 animals cases in the world was reported, 2 dogs in Hong Kong, a cat in Belgium and a tiger in US have tested positive to COVID-19 virus following close contact with infected humans.

March 26, on the blood sample, positive serology test in the laboratory of Hong Kong University results of the Pomeranian, which previously tested weak positive for COVID-19 virus. It proved that the dog has been infected and indicates that It had developed an immune response to the viral infection with antibodies found in the blood.

March 27, was reported that a pet cat in Belgium has tested positive for the virus, owned by a COVID-19 infected person. It was reported to have vomiting, diarrhoea, and breathing difficulties. The cat started showing symptoms a week after its owner did. The COVID-19 virus found in the cat’s faeces.

A tiger at New York’s Bronx Zoo called Nadia has tested positive for Covid-19. It’s believed that a tiger contracted virus from a caretaker who was asymptomatic at the time. It is not known how COVID-19 virus develop in big cats since different species can react differently. There is no evidence that any person has been infected with Covid-19 in the US by animals, including by pet dogs or cats.

Cats and dogs are in close contact with humans, therefore it is important to understand their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 for COVID-19 control.

In China, the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in cats was investigated. Five 8-month-old outbred domestic cats were intranasally inoculated. Viral RNA was detected in 2 cats, that located in the nasal turbinates, soft palates, and tonsils, 1 cats detected in the trachea, and the other was detected in the small intestine. But for lung, is not detected of these cats. These results indicate that SARS-CoV-2 can replicate efficiently in cats, with younger cats being more permissive and transmitted via respiratory droplets.

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in dogs also investigated. Five 3-month-old beagles were intranasally inoculated. Viral RNA was detected in the rectal swabs in 3 dogs. Two virus-inoculated dogs seroconverted, the 2 contact dogs were all seronegative for SARS-CoV-2 by ELISA test. These results indicate that dogs have low susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2.

Investigatiton the susceptibility of pigs, chickens, and ducks to SARS-CoV-2 with same strategy result that viral RNA was not detected in any swabs and seronegative for SARS-CoV-2 tested by ELISA. These results indicate that pigs, chickens, and ducks are not susceptible to SARS-CoV-2.

In other hand, COVID-19 virus tested in 4000 canine and feline samples in Canada, USA and EU, include areas with high rates of human COVID-19 cases by IDEXX. All samples have been negative result. March 25, COVID-19 virus tested on 17 dogs and 8 cats by AFCD, from owner with confirmed COVID-19 cases or persons in close contact with confirmed patients. Only 2 dogs had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. These cases of infection in dogs appear to be infrequent.These findings indicate that dogs and cats are not infected easily with this virus.

The National Council for Animal Protection (CNPA) said that animals are not vector of the epidemic, so there is no reason to abandon your animal. CDC said that at this time, testing of animals for COVID-19 is not recommended. CDC recommended that sick people should limit contact with their pets if possible. Be respect the usual rules of hygiene, wash their hands before and after stroking pets and do not rub their nose against pets.

We can conclude that there are possibility that animals can be infected of COVID-19 virus through close contact with infected humans. But human to animal transmission is still exceedingly rare. The main method of transmission of COVID-19 is human to human. There is still no evidence that pets can infect humans, or play any role in the spread of this disease. Sick people should limit contact with their pets if possible. Hygiene is the main role in here, washing hands before and after stroking pets and do not rub the nose against pets. Consult to the veterinarian if your pets sick.


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