There are reports this past weekend about a tiger that tested positive to COVID-19 after being exposed to an infected person at the Bronx Zoo in New York. This was released by The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories on April 5th.
Several lions and tigers were showing respiratory signs of illness which led to the test. One tiger tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans) which is the first instance of a tiger being infected with COVID-19. They believe the infection resulted from exposure to a zoo employee that was shedding the virus.
Even though there are reports of animals that have tested positive for the virus, at this time there still is no evidence that animals are carrying the virus and are transmitting it back to people. The WHO,CDC, USDA, and OSU are still all saying the same thing. If we hear of anything different we will share it immediately.
Based on reports from the USDA and even Ohio State, our pets (dogs or cats) can NOT carry the virus or be infected. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets or livestock, can spread COVID-19 infection to people.
Here are two links about animals as it relates to COVID-19.
- USDA: FAQ on Companion Animal Coronavirus Testing
- USDA Statement on the Confirmation of COVID-19 in a Tiger in New York
Here is another good source of information. The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine has a webinar coming up for pet owners to help them understand more about COVID-19 as it relates to their pets. It is called “Paws” With Your Pet.
This virtual discussion will feature experts from the College of Veterinary Medicine to answer some of your most common questions about COVID-19 and animals. Click on the link above to register.
USDA and CDC are monitoring the situation and working to support the state and local health departments and state animal health officials. We will monitor this and let you know if any changes or updates.