HomeNewsLatest NewsA Cat In Belgium Contracted The Coronavirus, Don't Panic, Do These

A Cat In Belgium Contracted The Coronavirus, Don’t Panic, Do These

It was noted that the cat had diarrhoea and breathing issues, and researchers subsequently found the novel coronavirus in her faeces.

Health care officials in Belgium have announced a case of a pet “cat” testing positive for the coronavirus from her owner, although some experts say it’s not common for pets to contract the disease through human.

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“Recently, the veterinary medicine faculty in Liège reported that a coronavirus infection has been determined in a cat. The cat lived with her owner, who started showing symptoms of the virus a week before the cat did,” virologist Steven Van Gucht said at a press conference in Belgium on Friday, according to The Brussels Times report.

It was noted that the cat had diarrhoea and breathing issues, and researchers subsequently found the novel coronavirus in her faeces. But as of Saturday, both the cat and the owner were reportedly doing well.

“We want to stress that this is an isolated case. Additionally, in this case, we are talking about a human-to-animal transmission, not the other way around. There are no indications that this is common. The risk of animal-to-human transmission is very small,” Van Gucht said.

Those sentiments were resounded by Jane Sykes, chief veterinary medical officer at the University of California. She said, Cats and dogs, maybe “dead-end” hosts for the virus. That means that pets could become infected but won’t bear enough of the virus to transmit it to humans or other pets.

Two dogs in Hong Kong had tested positive for the coronavirus and were asymptomatic. At least one of those dogs tested “weakly positive,” prompting some experts to believe that the dog could be carrying traces of the coronavirus in its nose or fur, rather than being truly infected.

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But Sykes said the levels of virus found in the cat, plus the cat’s symptoms, suggest true infection, but noted that further tests ― like checking to see whether the cat has developed antibodies for the coronavirus are required.

“It’s not really very surprising to hear of an infected cat,” she said, explaining that cats and ferrets were able to contract the similar virus that caused the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s. But there was no proof of cats transmitting the virus to humans.

“That said, the case of the Belgian cat means pet owners and veterinarians should be on the lookout for any possible symptoms consistent with Covid-19 in cats, dogs and other mammals (especially ferrets)”, Sykes said.

Current UK government guidelines state “there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs and cats can be infected with coronavirus,” and there is no official advice to distance from pets.

In advice on its website the PDSA states that “in most cases your pet can stay with you [if you’re self-isolating], however, it’s advised to avoid close contact, such as sharing a bed.”

In the U.S., both the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Veterinary Medical Association advised having someone else look after your pets if you have tested positive for the Covid-19.

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But if there’s no one readily available to assist you, wash your hands before and after interacting with pets, wash their bowl regularly, bedding and toys; and wear a face mask if possible.

In the event that your cat had contact with a person who tested positive for the coronavirus and you fear you might be exposed to it, experts suggest bathing pets with species-appropriate shampoo or wiping them down with soapy cloth and water.

Alice Campbell for SurgeZirc UK
Alice Campbell for SurgeZirc UK
Alice Campbell is a highly skilled and experienced royal writer, currently working with SurgeZirc UK. With a passion for journalism and a keen interest in the royal family, Alice has established herself as a prominent figure in the field.
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