Pets are no longer safe
from the coronavirus. A new study has made the revelation that dogs and cats
can be infected with the alpha variant of SARS-CoV-2. The ‘UK variant’s’ first case was detected in southeast England.
Two cats and one dog
tested positive on the PCR test done to diagnose the coronavirus. Additionally, two cats
and another dog developed antibodies between a period of two to six weeks after
showing signs of cardiac disease.
Most of the owners of
these pets had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and faced respiratory issues a few
weeks prior to their pets becoming ill. All of the six pets were diagnosed with
severe myocarditis, which is the inflammation of the heart muscle. This variant
of the virus is increasingly infective and easily communicable.
Luca Ferasin, the lead author of the study,
DVM, PhD of The Ralph Veterinary Referral Centre in the UK said, “Our study reports the first cases of cats
and dogs affected by the COVID-19 alpha variant and highlights, more than ever,
the risk that companion animals can become infected with SARS-CoV-2,”
as per ANI.
He added, “We
also reported the atypical clinical manifestations characterized by severe
heart abnormalities, which is a well-recognised complication in people affected
by COVID-19 but has never been described in pets before. However, COVID-19
infection in pets remains a relatively rare condition and, based on our
observations, it seems that the transmission occurs from humans to pets, rather
than vice versa,”
Luca downplayed the
probability of the disease transmitting from pets to humans. He revealed that
until now it seems like the pets are the ones who need to fear catching the virus
from us rather than vice versa.
It remains to be seen
how communicable, infective and deadly the disease can be in the furry little animals.