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Source: COVID-19 Pets  May 14, 2020  3 years ago
COVID-19 Pets: Study Confirms That Cats Can Becomes Infected With COVID-19 And Spread It To Other Cats
COVID-19 Pets: Study Confirms That Cats Can Becomes Infected With COVID-19 And Spread It To Other Cats
Source: COVID-19 Pets  May 14, 2020  3 years ago
COVID-19 Pets:  According to American and Japanese researchers in a collaborative study from Japan and US, it is confirmed that 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.

Photograph: Shutterstock

Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a Professor of Pathobiological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine led the study, in which researchers administered to three cats SARS-CoV-2 isolated from a human patient. The following day, the researchers swabbed the nasal passages of the cats and were able to detect the virus in two of the animals. Within three days, they detected the virus in all of the cats.
The researchers placed another cat in each of their cages, the day after they administered the SARS-CoV coronavirus to the first three cats. The researchers did not administer SARS-CoV-2 virus to these newly introduced cats.
The researchers daily took nasal and rectal swabs from all six cats to assess them for the presence of the virus. Within two days, one of the previously uninfected cats was shedding virus, detected in the nasal swab, and within six days, all of the cats were shedding virus. None of the rectal swabs contained virus.
It was observed that each cat shed SARS-CoV-2 from their nasal passages for up to six days. The virus was not lethal and none of the cats showed signs of illness. All of the cats ultimately cleared the virus.
Professor Kawaoka, who also holds a faculty appointment at the University of Tokyo said, "That was a major finding for us that the cats did not have symptoms."
Professor Kawaoka is also helping lead an effort to create a human COVID-19 vaccine called CoroFlu.
The research findings suggest cats may be capable of becoming infected with the virus when exposed to people or other cats positive for SARS-CoV-2. It follows a study published in Science by scientists at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences that also showed cats (and ferrets) could become infected with and potentially transmit the virus. The virus is known to be transmitted in humans through contact with respiratory droplets and saliva.
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Dr Peter Halfmann, a research professor at UW-Madison who helped lead the study commented, "It's something for people to keep in mind. If they are quarantined in their house and are worried about passing COVID-19 to chil dren and spouses, they should also worry about giving it to their animals."
The researchers advise that people with symptoms of COVID-19 avoid contact with cats. They also advise cat owners to keep their pets indoors, in order to limit the contact their cats have with other people and animals.
Professor Kawaoka is concerned about the welfare of animals. The World Organization for Animal Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there is "no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare."
Humans remain the biggest risk to other humans in transmission of the virus. There is no evidence cats readily transmit the virus to humans, nor are there documented cases in which humans have become ill with COVID-19 because of contact with cats.
So far there have been confirmed instances of cats becoming infected because of close contact with humans infected with the virus, and several large cats at the Bronx Zoo have also tested positive for the virus.
The irony is that cats should be avoiding humans as it is the humans that are passing this virus to them.
According to an April 22 announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, two cats in two private homes in New York State tested positive for COVID-19. One had been in a home with a person with a confirmed case of the viral disease. The cats showed mild signs of respiratory illness and were expected to make a full recovery.
There are also other cats have also tested positive for COVID-19 after close contact with their human companions, says Sandra Newbury, director of the UW-Madison Shelter Medicine Program. Newbury is leading a research study in several states in the U.S. to test animal-shelter cats that might have previously been exposed to human COVID-19 cases.
She added, "Animal welfare organizations are working very hard in this crisis to maintain the human-animal bond and keep pets with their people. It's a stressful time for everyone, and now, more than ever, people need the comfort and support that pets provide."
Keith Poulsen, director of the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory said, "Cats are still much more likely to get COVID-19 from you, rather than you get it from a cat." He recommends that pet owners first talk to their veterinarians about whether to have their animals tested. Testing should be targeted to populations of cats and other species shown to be susceptible to the virus and virus transmission.
Associate dean for clinical affairs at UW Veterinary Care, Ruthanne Chun,  offers the following advice:
-If your pet lives indoors with you and is not in contact with any COVID-19 positive individual, it is safe to pet, cuddle and interact with your pet.
-If you are COVID-19 positive, you should limit interactions with your pets to protect them from exposure to the virus.
She adds, "As always, animal owners should include pets and other animals in their emergency preparedness planning, including keeping on hand a two-week supply of food and medications," she says. "Preparations should also be made for the care of animals should you need to be quarantined or hospitalized due to illness."
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