Information on Animals That Have Tested Positive for COVID-19

Malayan tiger

***UPDATED August 28, 2020***
By February 2020, there was evidence that animals were being infected with SARS-CoV-2. To date, 17 dogs (New York (3), Hong Kong [2], Georgia, Texas, Arizona, South Carolina, Wisconsin (2), Utah (2), Japan [2], Louisiana, North Carolina), 25 cats (Belgium, Hong Kong, New York [4], France [2], Spain [2], Germany, Russia, Minnesota, Illinois, California [2], Utah (4), United Kingdom, Texas [2], Georgia, Maryland), five tigers (New York City), three lions (New York City), and thousands of minks (at mink farms in Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Utah) have been infected (as of August 25) with SARS-CoV-2. Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets spread COVID-19 to other animals, including people.

First Dog in Hong Kong
Oral and nasal samples were collected from an apparently healthy 17-year-old Pomeranian in Hong Kong that lived with a person infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19). The samples tested weakly positive for the virus. The dog was quarantined, and subsequently, additional nasal and oral samples collected during the course of quarantine also tested weakly positive. This suggested that the dog may be infected, rather than just contaminated with the virus. Another dog and a cat from the same household tested negative. Subsequently, an antibody test was done on a blood sample from the dog, which initially was reported as negative, suggesting that the dog had not become infected, although there can be reasons for false negatives.

Two days after the dog was released from quarantine (March 17), it died suddenly. Unfortunately, the owner declined a postmortem. However, because it was a 17-year-old dog with advanced cardiac disease that showed no other signs during quarantine, there is a high likelihood that death was unrelated to coronavirus infection. On March 19, it was revealed that further testing done on the blood sample collected from the Pomeranian in early March showed that it was actually positive, suggesting that the dog had mounted an immune response to the virus. On March 26, a spokesperson from the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) confirmed that a positive result had been obtained at the World Health Organization reference laboratory at the University of Hong Kong and the dog had been infected by the virus.

Second Dog in Hong Kong
On March 19, it was also announced that a second dog in Hong Kong, a 2-year-old German shepherd that lived with a COVID-19 positive person, had tested positive for the virus. The dog was quarantined, in addition to a 4-year-old dog from the same household (which tested negative). Neither of the dogs have shown signs of disease, and none of the staff handling the dogs during quarantine have been reported to develop COVID-19.

Cat in Belgium
On March 27, reports emerged from veterinary faculty at the University of Liege and the Veterinary Services of Belgium that samples of vomit and feces from a cat in Belgium had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The cat lived with a woman who was diagnosed with COVID-19 after returning from Italy.

In addition, a week after the owner developed signs, the cat started showing clinical signs suggestive of COVID-19 (vomiting, diarrhea, and respiratory distress). The cat was not examined by a veterinarian, and the owner collected the samples. It was reported that a significant virus level was detected in the samples. The detection of a significant quantity of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in feces and vomit from the cat in Belgium suggests that cats can become infected with this virus, but caution is advised as the test details have not been fully described. We still don’t have antibody tests back on this cat, but testing will be done when the cat is released from quarantine. While the cat’s clinical signs are suggestive of disease caused by the coronavirus, there are other causes of such signs and the positive tests do not prove that the cat’s signs were caused by the virus. Should a positive antibody test be identified once the cat has had time to mount an immune response, this would strongly support natural infection.

Cat in Hong Kong
On April 3, a cat in Hong Kong was reported to be sub-clinically (pre-symptomatically) infected with SARS-CoV-2. The owner had COVID-19, and the cat was quarantined on March 30. Nasal, oral and rectal swab specimens tested positive, and follow up samples on April 1 were also positive.

First Tiger in New York City
On April 5, a report was released of an infected Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City. The tiger was tested because it developed a dry cough and inappetence on March 27 and was in contact with a caretaker that was sub-clinically shedding SARS-CoV-2. In addition, the tiger’s sister, two Amur tigers and three African lions at the zoo were reported to develop similar signs by April 3. They have not been tested.

Two Cats in New York
On April 22, the CDC and the USDA announced the first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in pets in the United States - two cats in New York. The cats live in two separate areas of New York state. Both had mild respiratory illness and are expected to make a full recovery. A veterinarian tested the first cat after it showed mild respiratory signs. No individuals in the household were confirmed to be ill with 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 prior to the cat showing signs. Another cat in the household has shown no signs of illness.

Seven Additional Big Cats in New York City
On April 22, the Bronx Zoo announced that seven additional big cats (four tigers and three lions) tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. At this time, it is not clear when the additional tests on the big cats were conducted or when the zoo received the results. The zoo has been closed to visitors since March 16.

Minks in Netherlands
On April 26, it was reported that several minks in the Netherlands had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Two Cats in France
In early May, it was reported that two cats in France tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Cat in Spain
In early May, it was announced that a cat in the Catalonia region of Spain tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The positive diagnosis was discovered posthumously while a veterinarian conducted a necropsy of the cat. The cat did not die from the virus, however, but from a pre-existing respiratory condition fairly common among cats. It lived in a household where several family members had caught the virus.

Cat in Germany
On May 13, it was reported that a cat in Germany tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Cat in Russia
On May 26, it was reported that a cat in Russia tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Dog in New York
On June 2, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that a German shepherd in New York tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the first confirmed case of a dog contracting the virus in the United States (earlier, a dog in North Carolina presumed to be positive later ultimately tested negative). The dog had been showing signs of respiratory illness after his owner tested positive for the virus. A private veterinary laboratory initially tested the dog and got a presumptive positive result. Additional testing by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories of the USDA confirmed the lab’s result – the standard procedure to officially ascertain a positive case of COVID-19 in an animal. A second dog in the same home tested negative for the virus but did have antibodies in its system, indicating that it may have been exposed, according to the USDA.

Cat in Minnesota
On June 2, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced that a cat in a Carver County home tested positive for the coronavirus. The detection in the cat of the virus that causes the deadly COVID-19 disease occurred seven days after its owner was confirmed to also be infected. A dog in the household has remained healthy.

Cat in Illinois
On June 4, it was reported that a cat in Illinois tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the first confirmed animal case for the virus in Illinois. The cat was in a home with people who had tested positive and became sick in mid-May.

Second Cat in Spain
On June 8, Spanish officials reported that a second cat tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in that country.

Second and Third Dogs in New York
On June 24, the USDA announced that two dogs in New York tested positive for coronavirus. No further information is available.

Dog in Georgia
On July 1, a dog in Georgia tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. The owners of the 6-year-old mixed breed dog tested positive for the coronavirus, but the dog did not have any evidence of respiratory disease.

Cat in California
On July 8, the USDA announced that a cat in California tested positive for coronavirus. No further information is available.

Dog in Texas
On July 9, 2-year-old male Yorkie in Texas tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans. A private veterinarian chose to test the dog after its owners were confirmed to have the coronavirus. The dog appeared healthy and was not showing any signs of illness.

Dog in Arizona
On July 15, the USDA announced that a dog in Arizona tested positive for coronavirus. No further information is available.

Minks in Spain
On July 16, a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak was reported at a mink farm in Spain.

Dog in South Carolina
On July 16, a shepherd mix in South Carolina tested positive for the novel coronavirus after it had to be euthanized for chronic health conditions. The dog’s owner had tested positive for the virus earlier. Local veterinarians are working with state public health officials, the USDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the case.

Minks in Denmark
On June 17, it was reported that SARS-CoV-2 was detected in mink on a farm in Denmark.

Four Cats in Utah
On July 22, the USDA announced that four cats in Utah tested positive for coronavirus. No further information is available.

Two Dogs in Wisconsin
On July 22, the USDA announced that two dogs in Wisconsin tested positive for coronavirus. No further information is available.

Two Dogs in Utah
On July 22, the USDA announced that two dogs in Utah tested positive for coronavirus. No further information is available.

Cat in United Kingdom
On July 27, the United Kingdom’s Chief Veterinary Officer confirmed that the virus responsible for COVID-19 has been detected in a pet cat in the UK. All available evidence suggests that the cat contracted the coronavirus from its owners who had previously tested positive for COVID-19. The cat and its owners have since made a full recovery and there was no transmission to other animals or people in the household.

Two Dogs in Japan
In late July, it was reported that two dogs in Japan tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The dogs were separately owned by two COVID-19 patients.

Dog in Louisiana
On August 4, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) reported the first case of a COVID-19 positive dog in Louisiana. The LDAF did not release any further information on the dog, its family, or where in Louisiana it is located.

Two Cats in Texas
On August 6, researchers in Texas announced the discovery of two cats in Brazos County that tested positive for COVID-19.

Dog in North Carolina
On August 11, it was reported that a dog in North Carolina that died earlier in the month tested positive for the novel coronavirus. It remains unclear if there were other underlying conditions that contributed to its death. The person who brought the animal to the hospital reported that a family member had previously tested positive for coronavirus.

Two Additional Cats in New York
On August 12, the USDA announced that two cats in New York tested positive for coronavirus. No further information is available.

Cat in Georgia
On August 12, the USDA announced that a cat in Georgia tested positive for coronavirus. No further information is available.

Minks in Utah
On August 19, it was reported that at least five minks in Utah tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Additional Cat in California
On August 24, the USDA announced that a cat in California tested positive for coronavirus. No further information is available.

Cat in Maryland
On August 25, the USDA announced that a cat in Maryland tested positive for coronavirus. No further information is available.

Additional Tests
A major veterinary diagnostic laboratory, IDEXX, made a statement that they had more than 4,000 samples from dogs, cats, and horses – no evidence of the coronavirus was found, although these were stored samples, and it is unclear to what extent the animals had been exposed to infected people. The samples were collected over a 4-week period, starting on February 14, and were collected from animals in South Korea and the United States. IDEXX also noted that their testing had now expanded into Canada and EU countries, including areas with high rates of COVID-19 in humans, and all tests continued to be negative.

As of March 3, the Hong Kong AFCD conducted tests on 27 dogs and 15 cats quarantined from households with confirmed COVID-19 cases or persons in close contact with confirmed patients. Only the two dogs and the cat tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. None of the animals had clinical signs of disease.

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