Coronavirus: Cats can infect each other

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According to Chinese scientific studies, cats can infect each other with COVID-19. The transmission of infection from felines to humans has not been proven, but cat owners are cautioned to be careful. By contrast, dogs are not contagious.

At the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute in China, cats were found to be highly susceptible to Covid-19 and to be able to transmit the virus via droplets to other cats. In dogs, chickens, pigs, and ducks, it is unlikely that they will get the virus.

The findings preceded recent reports of cats in Belgium that were infected with Covid-19. After a week that the cat owner started showing symptoms, the cat also developed breathing difficulties, diarrhea, and vomiting. In the subsequent test carried out by veterinarians from the University of Liege it showed that the animal was infected with the coronavirus.

Experiments in the Chinese laboratory included fewer animals given a high dose of the virus, and there is no direct evidence that a cat can transmit the virus to people. However, the team of scientists indicates that their findings provided important information about Covid-19's animal reservoirs and how animal management might have a role in controlling the pandemic.

"Sars-CoV-2 surveillance in cats should be considered as an adjunct to Covid-19 clearance in humans".

In the study, five cats were infected with the coronavirus. Three of the cats were boxed with other cats that were not infected, and one of the cats became ill, suggesting that transmission occurred through the droplets from the mouth and nose. The finding was replicated in a second group of cats. Ferrets were also susceptible to the virus.

Professor Eric Fèvre, President of Veterinary Infectious Diseases at the University of Liverpool, said: "People should take the usual precautions to wash their hands when handling their pets and avoid excessively intimate contact, especially if they are ill with Covid. It is Importantly, this says nothing about how the virus that comes out of a cat may or may not be infectious to humans".

Professor Jonathan Ball, a virologist at the University of Nottingham said, "Person-to-person transmission is clearly the main driver, so there is no need to worry about cats as a major source of the virus. Obviously, if you think you have Covid- 19 and you share a house with a cat, then it would be wise to limit close interactions with your furry friend until you are better".

In the case of dogs and other pets it is necessary to clean their paws when walking because they are carriers in this way. As well as bathing it in case you lie down or scrub on public floors in squares and streets.

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