Short answer: Probably not.
The transmission of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, is primarily from person to person. That said, two domestic felines and several big cats at a zoo in New York have tested positive for the virus, and it is believed they were infected by their human caretakers.
All the infected animals had a mild respiratory illness and are expected to recover.
This week, veterinarians were cleared to begin testing pets for coronavirus. However, that doesn’t mean that all pets should be tested. At this time, the only animals being tested are those who have symptoms consistent with the novel coronavirus and who
- have had exposure or close contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19, or
- exposure to a high-risk environment where an outbreak occurred.
So what are the symptoms to watch for in your pet? General respiratory illness and diarrhea have been the most common signs, but unless your cat has been exposed to the virus in one of the ways above, it is not likely your pet has COVID-19.
The most important thing to remember at this point is that while our knowledge of this virus is still evolving, there is little to no risk of animals transmitting the virus to people.
If you or someone in your household has tested positive for the virus, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at [HOSPITAL TEL NUMBER] and we can have you talk with one of our veterinarians about testing for your pet.