On February 28, we reported about a dog in Hong Kong that tested positive for COVID-19 after it was believed its owner transmitted the disease to him.

On February 29, a spokesperson for Hong Kong’s agriculture, fisheries, and conservation department released the following statement: The AFCD received a referral from the Department of Health on February 26 that a dog of a patient infected with COVID-19 disease virus will be handed over to the AFCD. The staff of the AFCD picked up the dog from a residential flat at Tai Hang in the evening on the same day and sent the dog to the animal keeping facility at the Hong Kong Port of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. Oral, nasal and rectal samples were collected for testing of the COVID-19 virus. The nasal and oral cavity samples were tested weak positive to the COVID-19 virus. The dog does not have any relevant symptoms.
 

In a startling new development, SIX large cats at the Bronx Zoo have tested positive for COVID-19 after coming into contact with an infected zookeeper.

WCS News reports that 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.

This positive COVID-19 test for the tiger was confirmed by USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory, based in Ames, Iowa.

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We tested the cat out of an abundance of caution and will ensure any knowledge we gain about COVID-19 will contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus.

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. 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.

The four affected tigers live in the zoo’s Tiger Mountain exhibit. One male Amur tiger that also lives at Tiger Mountain has not exhibited any clinical signs, and a Malayan tiger and two Amur tigers at the zoo’s Wild Asia exhibit have also not exhibited any clinical signs.

None of the zoo’s snow leopards, cheetahs, clouded leopard, Amur leopard, puma or serval are showing any signs of illness. Our cats were infected by a person caring for them who was asymptomatically infected with the virus or before that person developed symptoms. Appropriate preventive measures are now in place for all staff who are caring for them, and the other cats in our four WCS zoos, to prevent further exposure of any other of our zoo cats.

“Our cats were infected by a person caring for them who was asymptomatically infected with the virus or before that person developed symptoms. Appropriate preventive measures are now in place for all staff who are caring for them, and the other cats in our four WCS zoos, to prevent further exposure of any other of our zoo cats.”

National Geographic reports –

“It’s the first time, to our knowledge, that a [wild] animal has gotten sick from COVID-19 from a person,” says Paul Calle, chief veterinarian for the Bronx Zoo. The Malayan tiger, named Nadia, likely contracted the coronavirus from an infected—but unknown—asymptomatic zookeeper. “It’s the only thing that makes sense,” Calle says. The zoo has been closed to visitors since March 16.

Several domestic animals had previously tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, including a Pomeranian and a German shepherd in Hong Kong, a domestic cat in Belgium.

Cats, both wild and domestic, are susceptible to feline coronavirus, but until recently, it was unknown whether they could contract SARS-CoV-2. A new Chinese study has found that cats may be able to infect each other, and scientists are rushing to learn what other species may be able to be infected by it.

PJ Media – As it appears big cats are able to catch the virus from humans, it’s very possible that our domestic felines and other pets may be susceptible as well.

At the time the CDC’s advisory was written, there had not yet been any reports of pets or other animals in the U.S. becoming sick with COVID-19. Now that it has crossed the barrier from humans to felines, the CDC’s recommendations are even more important: “If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets.”

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