CAPE TOWN – A recently published study report finds dogs unable to spread Covid-19, but discovered cats are able to spread the virus amongst each other.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explores the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on domestic animals such as dogs and cats analysing pathogenesis, transmission, and response to reexposure to Covid-19.
The first reported case of reverse zoonosis – transmission of a disease from humans to animals – was in Hong Kong where a Covid-19 patient’s dog tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 multiple time with other cases following shortly after with where other domestic pets were infected following the exposure of humans including a cat with the clinical disease in Belgium, the study report says.
The study based their research on seven cats and three dogs with baseline weighings, body temperatures, clinical evaluation, and oral swabs obtained from the animals that were all in good health.
The researchers found that all infected animals showed no signs of the virus and no evidence of lung complications either but discovered that cats shed the virus both orally and nasally and were able to infect other cats with direct contact or via the spread of aerosols produced through sneezing while dogs showed no signs of viral shedding.
Although the probability of pet-to-human or human-to-pet transmission is extremely low, the possible role domestic pets play in the transmission of Covid-19 remains important with the researchers finding that antibodies produced by cats prevent reinfection which could prove an important measurement for a possible vaccine.
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