Federal officials have confirmed coronavirus cases in two pet cats, which were recently tested. Both of these cases are reported from New York State. This is the first time that coronavirus is tested positive in any pet animal within the USA.
Both these cats have reported mild symptoms of respiratory illness and currently under treatment. They are expected to get over the virus within a few days. However, the health officials are concerned about coronavirus transmission from animals to people including the pet owner, their families, and neighbors. All of these people are to be tested for the virus soon.
This new report of coronavirus in cats has been released after coronavirus was reported in seven tigers and lions all of which were from the Bronx Zoo. The new coronavirus cases are a new addition to the overall coronavirus cases in animals reported worldwide.
U.S health officials state that it looks like animals are capable of getting this infection from people. And there is no clear evidence on animals transmitting it to people. So there is only one possibility that all animals have received it from humans as sources.
Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh from CDC is an expert on animal-human infections. She says that we don’t want to create a panic among people by telling them that their pets can also get coronavirus from them. She also said that probably it is too early to tell if pets have any role in this virus’s transmission or not, since there is no evidence.
On the other side, CDC has recommended people keep their pets indoors and refrain them from interacting with any person. It also includes not to take them out in parks or any public place for walks, for now.
Testing pets for coronavirus is not necessary unless a pet is showing any clear signs of this infection. Or it is exposed to a confirmed case of coronavirus positive human. There could be more reasons or another source of transmission of coronavirus in pets, health experts believe. Testing any animal whether or not a pet is done as per state officials to decide and run and no private person can do it.
Barton Behravesh also shared that testing on animals has been performed in vet labs and not human diagnostic labs. These tests use different types of chemicals and protocols, unlike human tests which is why they can’t be performed in human diagnostic labs. Also, the chemicals used in this test are already short as the coronavirus lockdown is extended.
In most people, the obvious symptoms of coronavirus i.e. cough and fever automatically heal within a couple of weeks. However older adults and those with the underlying conditions are at high risk and the symptoms of coronavirus could be much more severe in them, leading to death.
These two cats which are tested positive for coronavirus were from different areas within New York state. CDC has not published any more details regarding these cases.
One of these cats started to show respiratory illness about a week ago but it wasn’t confirmed that she has coronavirus. It is common for animals to go outside and interact with other pets and humans. The second cat had a coronavirus positive owner and the cat eventually showed the same symptoms after he was diagnosed. However, another cat from the same household is not showing any symptoms and appears healthy.
The health officials have recommended all people to take care while interacting with their pets. In case they are experiencing respiratory illness, they should use a mask while petting them. Previously dogs were also tested positive in Hong Kong but the health officials confirmed that these pets are not capable of transmitting it to humans. Tigers and lions from Bronx Zoo were also tested positive in March and the zoo was closed later on. All of these animals are recovering and no animal death has been reported till the date.