Earlier this month, a tiger at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo tested positive for COVID-19. Nearly three weeks later, the zoo has announced that three more tigers and three lions that had been showing similar symptoms have also tested positive for the contagious virus. An additional tiger that had not shown symptoms also tested positive.
… The zoo explained that it has developed a test with its laboratory partners that uses fecal samples from the animals so that they do not have to be put under anesthesia. The zoo added that the testing of the big cats was done out of an “abundance of caution” and said that it “will ensure any knowledge we gain about COVID-19 will contribute to the world’s continuing understanding of this novel coronavirus.”
Additionally two cats in New York have tested positive for COVID-19 — marking the first pets in the United States to contract the virus. The cats live in different areas of the state and are expected to make a full recovery. The first cat was tested by a veterinarian after it showed “mild respiratory signs.” None of the cat’s owners had tested positive for COVID-19, so it is suspected that the cat could have contracted the virus from “mildly ill or asymptomatic household members or through contact with an infected person outside its home.”
… The second cat showed “signs of respiratory illness” before being tested, and its owner had tested positive for COVID-19 before their pets showed signs of the virus. However, another cat in the home “has shown no signs of illness.”
… The private vet lab where the cats were tested reported their results to state and federal officials. The CDC and USDA said that routine testing of animals is not recommended at this time.
… The CDC says while information about COVID-19 is still emerging, “there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading the virus in the United States.”
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