UK scientists reported for the first infection spreading from the Alpha variant in cats and dogs, while domestic pets are known to contract Covid-19.
The research got published in the Veterinary Record journal describing the first identification of the SARS-CoV-2 alpha variant in domestic pets. Two cats and a dog were tested positive on the PCR test, while the two cats and a dog showed antibodies 2 to 6 weeks later they came across signs of cardiac disease.
The masters of these pets had developed respiratory problems a few weeks before their pets fell sick and tested Covid positive.
Including severe myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), all these pets had an acute onset of cardiac disease.
“Our study reports the first cases of cats and dogs affected by the Covid-19 alpha variant and highlights, more than ever, the risk that companion animals can become infected with SARS-CoV-2,” said Luca Ferasin, Lead author of The Ralph Veterinary Referral Centre, in the UK.
“We also reported the typical clinical manifestations characterized by severe heart abnormalities, which is a well-recognized complication in people affected by Covid-19 but has never been described in pets before,” he added.
Reports of animals infected with SARS-CoV-2 have been documented around the world, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
After contact with people affected by Covid-19, most of these animals became affected including the caretakers, owners, and others who were in close contact. Infected animals include pet dogs, cats, and ferrets. Animals that reside in zoos or sanctuaries include several types of otters, bug cats, and non-human primates like Mink, wild white-tailed deer in several US states.
A recent study displays many mammals like ferrets, cats, fruit bats, raccoon dogs, hamsters, and white-tailed deer, not only are infected by the virus but also can spread the same to other animals of the same species in laboratory settings. Nonetheless, the risk of humans getting affected by the animals is considered to be low.
“However, Covid-19 infection in pets remains a relatively rare condition and, based on our observations, it seems that the transmission occurs from humans to pets, rather than vice versa,” said Ferasin.
(With inputs from IANS)