Cat – Belgium
Published 20 April 2020
On 27th March it was reported that a cat in Belgium, whose owner has COVID-19, had tested positive for coronavirus. The cat is reported to have developed transient vomiting, diarrhoea and respiratory signs. The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Liège reported that viral RNA of the SARS-CoV2 virus was detected in the faeces and vomit from the cat1.
However, while this cat had both positive PCR test results and clinical signs, it is important to note that “this test does not detect infectious or ‘live’ virus particles, so it is impossible to tell whether the viral genome found in the cat was from a particle that could replicate” and “without knowing any clinical details of this case, we can’t tell whether COVID-19 was responsible for the disease or if this was just an upsetting coincidence”2, (Dr Sarah Caddy, Clinical Research Fellow in Viral Immunology, University of Cambridge, and Veterinary Surgeon)
The cat is reported to have recovered uneventfully and monitoring is on-going to determine whether it develops serum antibodies to the virus.
1. Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Liège (2020) Provisional version of the urgent opinion 04-2020 of the Scientific Committee established at the FASFC on the zoonotic risk of SARSCoV2 virus (Covid-19) in pets: infection from animals to man and from man to animals. [online] Available at: https://www.afsca.be/wetenschappelijkcomite/adviezen/2020/_documents/Spoedraadgeving04-2020_SciCom2020-07_Covid-19gezelschapdieren_27-03-20.pdf [Accessed 13 April 2020]
2. University of Cambridge (2020) Opinion: can cats really get or pass on COVID-19, as a report from Belgium suggests? [online] Available at: https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/opinion-can-cats-really-get-or-pass-on-covid-19-as-a-report-from-belgium-suggests [Accessed 13 April 2020]
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