COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A total of eight tigers and lions at the Bronx Zoo have tested positive for the coronavirus. This week, two cats in New York have also tested positive.
As of right now, experts are still saying that humans can transmit COVID-19 to their pets but not the other way around.
“When we go into test them, they have actually looked at the level of virus they have found in these animals and it’s not that thigh, so that would tend to indicate that they wouldn’t be very effective in transmitting to other animals," said Texas A&M Veterinary Diagnostic Lab Director, Dr. Bruce Akey. "I won’t rule out the possibility but it looks like the flow is humans into the animals."
As the number of animals testing positive for the virus increases, so has the number of guidelines put forth by the CDC and American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA).
“This is probably not the time to be all cuddly and snugly with your pet," said Akey. "It’s probably best to have a little social distancing with your cat, with your pet as well. If there is anybody in the household that is suffering from COVID-19, let someone else handle the animal."
Just like there is a limited number of tests for humans, doctors are not testing every animal that may show symptoms.
“The testing we run is different than the one done on humans. It’s different in terms of the agents that we’re using currently, but it’s still not an unlimited supply so we still want to be judicious about getting tested and only test the ones that truly need it," said Akey. "And other than that, just tell owners, don’t freak out, this is not a reason to take them to the shelter."
Dr. Akey said if you are concerned about your pet, contact your local vet first.
The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab is capable of conducting test for several variations of the coronavirus, including COVID-19.