COVID-19 Found in Cats and a Dog in US and New Symptoms Added by CDC


Over the weekend the CDC entered some new symptoms they believe to be related to COVID-19. It has been well known that having a cough or shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, are signs one may have the virus. The CDC now warns if people have at least two of these new symptoms it is a possibility COVID-19 is responsible:

  • Fever;
  • Chills;
  • Headache/Migraine;
  • Muscle pain;
  • Sore throat;
  • A new loss of taste or smell;
  • Or repeated shaking with chills.

These symptoms can appear two days to two weeks after being exposed to COVID-19. The symptoms listed are the ones frequently mentioned by those infected. If a person develops any severe or concerning symptoms please contact a doctor immediately.

When Should People Seek Emergency Rooms?

The CDC also lists emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If one develops any of these symptoms they should seek medical attention immediately:

  • Pressure or persistent pain in the chest;
  • Inability to arouse or new confusion;
  • Trouble Breathing;
  • Or bluish lips/face.

If one needs to call 911, and believes they may have COVID-19, advise the operator.

Doctor Thomas Davis, the Baptist Health Director of Medical Emergency Department, states that people need to know when to come into the hospital. “Being tested is not the most important. The important caveat (warning) though is people can get worse very quickly. So, if you start getting shortness of breath or chest pain, you need to be seen. We want to get on top of it early.”

Social Distancing as it Applies to Pets

Of course, social distancing helps keep the number of COVID-19 cases down. However, recent developments show that social distancing guidelines need to be used with pets as well. On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, the CDC updated its social distancing guidelines to include pets.

Pet owners should treat their pets as “family members” during these trying times. Veterinary Specialists Dr. Melissa Salgado says that pets may be susceptible to contracting COVID-19. She says it is “best to err on the side of caution.”

Authorities recommend keeping cats indoors if at all possible, and to walk dogs on a leash that is at least six feet away from other people. Doing this should help keep animals from interacting with other people, reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19.

How to Tend to Pets and Animals

A person who has tested positive for COVID-19, or believes they may have it, should limit interactions with pets or other animals. These new developments have been set into place because two pet cats tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Officials stress if a person contracts the virus there is no need to send their pets away.

The CDC says that people who have or suspect to have COVID-19 should limit contact with their animals. If at all possible have someone else in the household take care of the animals. People who do not have anyone to help them should wear a cloth face mask and wash hands before and after interacting with the animal. They also recommend avoiding dog parks or other places where animals/people gather.

Testing for Animals

At this time there is no routine testing for animals. The CDC adds the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will post any findings if other animals begin to test positive for COVID-19. The agency ensures that there has been no evidence of pets playing a role in spreading the virus in the United States.

Dr. Salgado diagnosed one of the cats that tested positive. She states that the tests for animals are more invasive than it is for humans. The testing requires veterinarians to take swabs of the nose and mouth of the animals. Next, they swab the mucous membrane that covers the front of the eyes and lines the inside of the eyelids.

They also test the animal’s fecal matter for traces of COVID-19. Dr. Salgado adds, “There’s so many illnesses in pets that aren’t coronavirus that we aren’t advocating for widespread testing.” This is why there will not be routine testing, at this time, for animals.

Latest Pet That Tested Positive

On April 27, 2020, there was a report of a pug in North Carolina tested positive for COVID-19. It is believed to be the first case of a dog contracting the virus in the U.S. Duke University studied the McClean’s family in Chapel Hill. The whole family, including Wiston the pug, was tested for COVID-19. The father, mother (professor of pediatrics at Duke University School of Medicine) Heather McClean, son, and Wiston tested positive for COVID-19. The daughter, a second dog, and a cat tested negative for the virus.

The principal investigator for the Duke study, Dr. Chris Woods, believes Wiston may be the first dog in the U.S. to be confirmed to have the virus. McClean states that Wiston has mild symptoms from COVID-19.

She said, “Pugs are a little unusual in that they cough and sneeze in a very strange way.” McClean adds, “it almost seems like he was gagging, and there was one day when he didn’t want to eat his breakfast.” It is a well-known fact that pugs love to eat, therefore it was extremely “unusual” for Wiston to not eat.

McClean’s son believes that Winston contracted the virus because he would lick their dinner plates and sleep with his parents. Authorities mention that they are still learning about COVID-19. At this time the only evidence between animal-to-human contraction is from human to animal.

Are Animals Playing a Role in the Spread of Covid-19?

The exact source of the current outbreak of COVID-19 is unknown at this time. It was first believed to have started in an animal market in China. That being said, the virus has primarily been passed from human to human. There is no evidence, at this time, that shows animals are playing a significant role in spreading COVID-19.

By Sheena Robertson


CDC: Coronavirus Disease 2019 If You Have Animals
CBS: CDC lists six new coronavirus symptoms, doctors weigh in
CDC: Coronavirus Disease 2019 Symptoms
MSN: Coronavirus: Social distancing guidelines apply to pets, CDC says
3WWMT: CDC releases new guidelines for pet owners and COVID-19
ABC: After some cats test positive, CDC says social distancing applies to pets too
NBC: Pug in North Carolina tests positive for coronavirus, may be first for dog in U.S.

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of wombatarama’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License


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