Sunday, August 2, 2020

Are Our Pets Susceptible to SARS-CoV-2?

In a study, which has not undergone peer review, researchers put viral particles into the noses of a small number of cats. They euthanized a few of the animals four days later and tested their organs for SARS-CoV-2 genetic material. They found viral RNA in the cats’ noses, soft palates, and tonsils, but not in their lungs. Other exposed animals were housed in cages near unexposed animals. The researchers later detected viral RNA in one of the three cats that had been housed near an infected cat.

The team, led by Zhigao Bu of the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, also ran tests on ferrets, dogs, pigs, chickens, and ducks, and found viral RNA in the ferrets after their exposure. Two of the five exposed dogs had viral RNA in a rectal swab, but not an oronasal swab, two days after infection, while none of the pigs or fowl tested positive for viral RNA at any of the time periods tested.

Jonathan Ball, a virologist at the University of Nottingham, shared, “Human to human transmission is clearly the main driver, so there is no need to panic about cats as an important source of virus. Obviously, if you think you have Covid-19 and share a house with a cat, then it would be sensible to limit close interactions with your furry friend until you are better.”

1 comment:

  1. Having cats myself, this was very informative. It was in the news several months ago that there were tigers and several NYC house cats that tested positive for COVID-19, which sparked concern in cat owners. This article reassures me and others that cats for the most part are not going to contract the virus, though we should still be careful around them regardless. Interesting read!