Multiple Animals Test Positive for Coronavirus


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When it comes to COVID-19, pet parents have remained fearful that their animal companions are susceptible to the virus. The outbreak has killed more than 110,000 people in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU), and news stories have swirled regarding pets testing positive for the virus as well as false alarms.

Luckily, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories(NVSL) has been tracking coronavirus infections in animals and has released a chart with all of its confirmed cases. The chart shows that four cats, one dog, and multiple lions and tigers have confirmed coronavirus infections. Most of the animals are located in New York, the state with the highest number of coronavirus cases, according to JHU.

NVSL released extensive information regarding the single canine on the list. The New York-based German Shepherd tested positive for the virus after exhibiting signs of respiratory illness. One of its owners also tested positive, and the other experienced symptoms of the virus prior to the dog displaying signs of infection. A second dog in the household showed no signs of illness, but did test positive for coronavirus antibodies, showing that it had likely been exposed. The German Shepherd is expected to make a full recovery.

In relaying information about the German Shepherd, NVSL urged pet owners not to panic and warned them against taking actions that would harm an animal’s welfare.

“We are still learning about SARS-CoV-2 in animals, but there is currently no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus,” NVSL said in a statement. “Based on the limited information available, the risk of animals spreading the virus to people is considered to be low.”

However, NVSL said people with COVID-19 can spread the virus to animals through close contact and those sick with the virus should avoid contact with pets and animals in order to protect them from potential exposure.

 

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