Dogs and cats can become infected with Alpha variant and suffer heart problems, study shows
Dogs and cats can become infected with the Alpha variant and suffer from heart problems, according to a study. Photo: LUCA FERASIN / EP
The study describes the first identification of the Alpha variant of SARS-CoV-2 in domestic animals: two cats and one dog tested positive in PCR. In comparison, two other cats and one dog showed antibodies between two and six weeks after developing—signs of heart disease.
Many of these pet owners had developed respiratory symptoms several weeks before their pets became ill and had also tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, all pets had an acute onset of heart disease, including severe myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle).
“Our study reports the first cases of cats and dogs affected by the Alpha variant of COVID-19 and highlights, more than ever, the risk that companion animals can become infected with SARS-CoV-2,” explains lead author Luca Ferasin, from the Ralph Veterinary Reference Center in the UK.
“We also report atypical clinical manifestations characterized by severe cardiac abnormalities, which is a well-known complication in people affected by COVID-19 but has never been described in companion animals. However, COVID-19 infection in companion animals it remains a relatively rare condition and, based on our observations, transmission appears to be from humans to companion animals, not the other way around.”