COVID-19 Update - Positive Cats in New York

On 4/22/20 the CDC and the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) announced the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in pets. Both involve cats in New York State. While we're still learning about COVID-19, we currently have no information that suggests pets might be playing a role in the virus' spread in the United States, and the finding does not alter the American Veterinary Medical Society's basic guidance for pet owners (AVMA Pet Owner Guidelines).

Current expert understanding is that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted person-to-person. There is still no evidence that animals can transmit this virus to people.

The clinical picture of COVID-19 infection in animals is not well-described, because there have been so few cases in animals.  The two cats that tested positive displayed mild upper respiratory signs that included a combination of low grade fever, lethargy, nasal and ocular discharge and sneezing.  These clinical signs are not at all unique to COVID-19 so veterinarians are strongly encouraged to rule out more common causes of these clinical signs in animals before considering testing for COVID-19.  The CDC, USDA, and other federal partners have created very specific guidelines for veterinarians to follow to help determine when animal testing is recommended. This testing would be performed while working with the state veterinarian.

We hope this information helps to ease some of your fears and helps to keep you up to date with the most current information regarding COVID-19 and your pets


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