The case was reported by state veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brightbill. He said the 16-year-old feline lived in a household with multiple people who’d been infected with COVID-19, and was humanely euthanized earlier this month after presenting with respiratory distress.
According to state officials, the Cumberland County cat is one of just a handful of pets across the country known to have died or been euthanized following COVID-19 infection. All had prolonged contact with infected humans, along with underlying health issues. None appear to have died solely from COVID-19.
Experts recommend taking similar precautions with pets that you would with other humans. State officials recommended the following guidelines for pet owners who test positive for COVID-19:
- Avoid contact with pets and other animals, as you would other people.
- Arrange for another household member to care for your pet(s) while you or family members are in isolation.
- Avoid contact such as petting, holding, snuggling, facial contact, and sleeping in the same bed.
- Wear a mask and wash your hands before feeding or tending to your pet if you are unable to find alternative care for them.
Symptoms of COVID-19 in pets include fever, coughing, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, lethargy, sneezing, nose or eye discharge, vomiting or diarrhea.
Pet owners whose animals exhibit those symptoms following contact with an infected human should reach out to their veterinarian. There’s currently no evidence that animals play any significant role in spreading COVID-19 to humans.
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