While coronavirus is considered a zoonotic virus, the one which can be transferred between animals and humans, there were no active cases of animals acquiring it previously.
However, a tiger at the Bronx Zoo has now tested positive for COVID-19 and pet owners around the world are quite worried about their animals. For humans, social isolation is the best precaution as noted by the WHO but what about the animals that do not have proper shelter?
Source: The Verge
In NewYork City, the virus was reportedly transferred to three lions and four tigers from an asymptomatic human. One of them includes a four-year-old tiger named Nadia but the zoo experts say that they have established special conditions for the animals and are hopeful that all of them will make a swift recovery.
The origin of the virus is still unknown but the scientists concluded that it was passed on to a human from an animal. It was thought that the pet market in China that sells animals and seafood was the first prime location but a study conducted in January revealed that the first person to get coronavirus in the country had no direct contact with the market.
Another study of the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus revealed it to match the one present in pangolins with a 99 percent authenticity. These animals are the most trafficked mammals in Asia as reported by the World Wildlife Fund. So, it is possible that pangolins transferred it from bats to humans. Just like SARS and MERS, coronavirus has also been linked with bats and the genome sequence found in the virus was 96 percent identical to the one found in these creatures.
Source: Economic Times
However, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says that this virus is a special case because the range of transfer between animals and humans is not usually quite high so the pandemic comes as a surprise.
Right now, there are no cases of humans acquiring the virus through animals according to the World Health Organization and only humans are considered the primary source of passing the disease to one another. Still, animal advocacy groups are concerned that the misinformation regarding pets can lead to more mistreatment and isolation of the animals from society because people might do so to avoid COVID-19.
Source: Business Insider
Domestic dogs and cats have also gotten the virus from their owners as a 17-year-old Pomeranian in Hong Kong tested “weakly positive” in February and passed away in March. However, South China Morning Post says that the primary reason for this could be the old age of the dog and not the infection. Another 2-year-old German Shepherd was also affected in Hong Kong after the owner got the virus but another dog living in the same house tested negative.
Source: English Al Arabiya
A cat in Hong Kong and another one in Belgium also tested positive and the latter was reported to “have shown clinical signs of digestive and respiratory disease,” according to information from the National Veterinary Services of Belgium.
Basically, the researchers say that we have to take precautionary measures for our pets and put them in social isolation just like humans. If you feel any mild symptoms, stay away from them and maintain all the protocol so your animals can also remain healthy.