CDC announces new COVID-19 guidelines for pets after two cats test positive for virus

April 27, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced new guidelines for pet owners after a pair of house cats tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in two different parts of New York State. Just days before that, several big cats in the Bronx Zoo also had tested positive.

According to the CDC, the cats live in two separate areas and both have a mild respiratory illness, from which they are expected to make a full recovery.

COVID-19 infections have been reported in very few animals worldwide, mostly in those that have had close contact with an infected person, New York is the epicenter of the virus, with over a quarter of a million cases, so if a pet were going to catch the virus, that would likely be the place where it would happen.

The Daily Voice reports, that the CDC believes, that because the number of cases in household pets has been so limited to date, routine testing of animals has not been recommended, although state and federal health officials are making new determinations about whether an animal should be tested.

In the New York case announced earlier this week, a veterinarian tested the first cat after it showed mild respiratory signs. No individuals in the household were confirmed to have COVID-19. The virus may have been transmitted to this cat by mildly ill or asymptomatic household members or through contact with an infected person outside its home.

Samples from the second cat were taken after it showed signs of respiratory illness. The owner of the cat tested positive for COVID-19 before the cat displayed symptoms. Another cat in the household has shown no signs of illness.

Until more is known, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household;
  • Keep cats indoors when possible;
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintain a distance of at least six feet from other people and animals;
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where large number of people and animals gather;
  • If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would around other people;
  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick;
  • Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding;

Finally, if you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.

Research contact: @DailyVoice

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