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Cat tested positive for SARs-CoV-2 in Belgium

Posted by Rachel Korman on 30 March 2020

On 27/3/2020 a pet cat in Belgium was reported to have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The cat was owned by a COVID-19 infected person and reported to have clinical signs of vomiting, diarrhoea and respiratory signs. The owner submitted vomit and faeces samples to The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Liege. Genetic testing reported high levels of SARS-CoV-2. The cat recovered after 9 days.

This could represent a case of human to animal transmission. So far there have been reported 2 dogs in Hong Kong of POSSIBLE human to animal transmission. Neither dog had clinical signs and infectious virus was not isolated. The 17 year old Pomeranian was antibody positive and died shortly after discharge from quarantine. A post mortem was not performed (!) but there is no data suggesting the dog died from coronavirus related disease.

Recently Idexx have tested approximately 4000 canine and feline samples from Canada, USA, EU and South Korea and no positive results were found.

There have been NO reports of animal to human transmission and human to pet transmission is NOT a significant path of viral spread.

For COVID-19 positive humans it is suggested to:

  1. Wash hands before and after handling food bowls and litter trays
  2. Wash hands before and after contact with your pet
  3. Minimise close handling and contact

It is NOT necessary to find alternative accommodation for your pet. Human to Human transmission remains the ONLY significant path of viral spread and we can do our best by continuing current guidelines of social distancing and hand hygiene.

Thanks to Dr Rachel Korman (Specialist Feline Medicine) for creating this content.

Author:Rachel Korman