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Central Arkansas house cat tests positive for COVID-19

A house cat in Arkansas has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Arkansas Department of Health

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — (Editor's note: The photo used is a stock photo from Getty Images and not an actual photo of the cat.)

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, a central Arkansas house cat has been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.

A neighborhood practice veterinarian chose to test the cat for SARS-CoV-2 after finding "unusual signs of disease" and learning that the pet’s owner was confirmed to have COVID-19, according to the health department.

Veterinary clinical support staff wore personal protective equipment when in contact with the owner and while handling the cat to prevent potential spread of the virus. 

The veterinarian reported the 9-month-old cat appeared to be recovered and healthy at this time.

This reported animal is the first confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in Arkansas, but not the first in the United States. At this time, testing of animals not displaying unusual signs of disease is not warranted, nor recommended.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratories, the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Department of Agriculture together are joined in a One Health effort to provide information to the Arkansas public in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

One Health is an organized effort to collaborate multiple subject-area disciplines to attain optimal health solutions for people, animals and their environment.

According to officials, the risk of pets spreading COVID-19 to people is "considered to be low."

We will update this article with more information as it becomes available to us.