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SARS-CoV-2 Infection of Pets

Veterinarians from a specialty veterinary clinic located in the southeast of England have reported the first cases of household pet infections with the B.1.1.7 variant of SARS-CoV-2. Infections were detected in 8 cats and 3 dogs, all of which were taken to the veterinarian clinic due to the onset of symptoms including lethargy, loss of appetite, rapid breathing, and severe cardiac abnormalities. All of the owners had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 prior to their pets developing symptoms.

A second press release from Texas A&M University reported that researchers had identified the B.1.1.7 variant in a cat and dog only two days after their owner was diagnosed with the same variant. Both pets were asymptomatic at the time of testing, but later developed symptoms including sneezing, that resolved after one month. The researchers said these cases raised questions regarding the risk companion animals may play in the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly given the enhanced infectivity and transmissibility of the B.1.1.7 variant.  


Grimm D. Major coronavirus variant found in pets for first time, Science, March 19, 2021.

Ferasin L et al. Myocarditis in naturally infected pets with the British variant of COVID-19, bioRxiv, March 18, 2021, doi:

Gauntt J. Texas A&M Research Uncovers First Known COVID-19 UK Variant In Animals, Texas A&M Today, March 15, 2021.

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