As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, we've asked readers what they most want to know about its impact, prevention and treatment. This is an answer to one of those questions. You can find more answers here. 


Can my pets get infected with COVID-19, and will it make them sick?

The CDC and U.S. Department of Agriculture announced recently that two cats from New York state have tested positive for the virus that is causing the worldwide pandemic. They are the first pets in the United States to test positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Both had mild respiratory illness and are expected to make a full recovery.

Earlier, a tiger at a New York City zoo tested positive after developing symptoms of a respiratory illness. It is believed that three large cats became sick after being exposed to a zoo worker who was infected and asymptomatic.

Public health officials are studying the zoo animal infections and its possible implications.

There have been some isolated reports of pet infections in Belgium and Hong Kong, but the World Organization for Animal Health said the three cases involved all had issues that made it hard to draw definitive conclusions.

“So far, these appear to be isolated cases, and there is no evidence that dogs or cats are playing a role in the spread of this human disease,” the agency said on its website.

Still, the CDC recommends that anyone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 “should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people.” If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed), restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. 

READ: Pet fostering takes off as coronavirus keeps Americans home

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