Tiger at Bronx Zoo Tests Positive for Covid-19. Can my dog or cat make me sick? Experts Answer: We don’t know!

QWYNTE37OBHAJFQGMB6UGU2QOI A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for Coronavirus (Covid-19). A 4-year-old Malayan tiger developed a dry cough and was tested for the virus.
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A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for Coronavirus (Covid-19). A 4-year-old Malayan tiger developed a dry cough and was tested for the virus.

The Wildlife Conservation Society said in a statement: “Nadia, a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo, has tested positive for COVID-19. She, her sister Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions had developed a dry cough and all are expected to recover,”
The diagnosis was confirmed by USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa “out of an abundance of caution.”

“Though they have experienced some decrease in appetite, the cats at the Bronx Zoo are otherwise doing well under veterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers,” the statement said. “It is not known how this disease will develop in big cats since different species can react differently to novel infections, but we will continue to monitor them closely and anticipate full recoveries.”

Are your pets at risk? Are you at risk from your pets?

Expert answers vary greatly. We’ve seen reports of pets with the Coronavirus, but who knows how accurate they are.

From Nature.com:

A man wearing a face mask waves a toy over a Persian cat at a cat show in Vietnam
A study finds cats are susceptible to the coronavirus, but it’s unclear whether they can infect people.Credit: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty

Cats can be infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and can spread it to other cats, but dogs are not really susceptible to the infection, say researchers in China. The team, at Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, also concludes that chickens, pigs and ducks are not likely to catch the virus.

The CDC is monitoring the situation:

  • CDC is aware of a very small number of pets outside the United States reportedexternal icon to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 after close contact with people with COVID-19.
  • We do not have evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19.
  • We do not have evidence to suggest that imported animals or animal products imported pose a risk for spreading the 2019 novel coronavirus in the United States.
  • Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.

2nd Dog tests positive:

A second dog tested positive for coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in Hong Kong, reported the South China Morning Post. Doctor’s diagnosed the dog’s owner with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Health officials analyzed oral and nasal swabs from the dog, a 2-year-old German Shepherd, and another dog from the same home in Pok Fu Lam, a residential district of Hong Kong. The German Shepherd’s results confirmed the presence of the coronavirus, but the dog remained asymptomatic. The other dog’s tests came back clean. The dogs remain in quarantine. Hong Kong’ Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department health officials told the South China Morning Post that they believed this to be another case of human-to-dog transmission.

First case of dog testing positive for coronavirus

In late Feb., another dog in Hong Kong, a Pomeranian, tested positive for the presence of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the first worldwide. Health officials used real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to find signs of the virus’s genetic material. This dog also showed no symptoms of COVID-19.

Cat owners may wish to be more cautious about contact with their pets, as a study from China has revealed Covid-19 can be transmitted between cats.

For now, most experts agree, please don’t give away your furry friends out of fear.