- Scientists found that cats are more vulnerable on contracting the virus than other pets or animals like dogs, pigs, chicken and ducks.
- Experts recommended that people who were tested of coronavirus should observe self-distancing measures, not only from their family but also from their pets, so as to prevent from transmitting the virus to their pets, particularly cats or other felines.
Following a report of a tiger in Bronx Zoo in New York that was tested positive of the dreaded coronavirus, a study that was published on the website of the Journal Science found that our dear purring cats or other felines can be infected of the coronavirus.
According to researchers, the study however stressed that there was no “strong evidence” that pets, such as cats and dogs, can carry and transmit the coronavirus or its scientific term SARS-CoV-2 to humans — it may be the other way around.
“What these data do provide is support for the recommendation that people who are with COVID-19 should be distancing themselves, not only from other household members but also from their household pets, so as not to transmit the virus to their pets, particularly to cats or other felines,” the chief of infectious diseases at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital Daniel Kuritzkes said in a Reuters news report.
The study was conducted in China from January to February. During the research, scientists attempted to infect the animals by “introducing viral particles” through their noses. Through that introduction, researchers found that cats and ferrets are “highly susceptible” to the virus, than animals like dogs, pigs, chickens, among others.
The researchers also stated that cats can also infect its fellow cats through respiratory droplets. Adult cats that were infected have virus in its mouth, nose, and small intestine, while kittens that were exposed to the virus can experience “massive lesions’ in its lungs, throat, and nose.
In ferrets, on the other hand, the virus was seen in its upper respiratory tracts, but did not resulted in severe illness. Antibody tests in dogs, on the other hand, revealed that they less likely to contract the coronavirus, while the pigs, chickens, and ducks that were introduced of the viral particle showed no any presence of strain of the virus.
The research was aimed to identify which animals are susceptible to the virus so they can be used for experimental vaccines against coronavirus.
A report recently said that a tiger in Bronx Zoo in New York showed symptoms of dry cough and had loss its appetite were tested positive of the virus. The tiger contracted the virus after its contact with a zookeeper who also has the virus.
Due to this incident, the World Health Organization prompted them to conduct further research with its partners about the role of pets in the ongoing health crisis, which was originated in Wuhan, China.
In a news press conference, WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kekhove confirmed that pets can be infected by their masters, but it is less unlikely that the virus on pets can be transmitted to human.
“We don’t believe that they are playing a role in transmission but we think that they may be able to be infected from an infected person,” she said.