Department of health teams are visiting homes testing and euthanizing any dog or cat that tests positive for COVID-19 in Texas.
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas scientists have reported finding two pet cats with the coronavirus — the first in the state.
The cats were swabbed as part of a study being conducted at Texas A&M University to understand how pets living in “high-risk” households may be impacted by COVID-19.
The cats were in separate homes in Brazos County — and asymptomatic.
One cat began sneezing after a visit at his house from researchers.
A nasal swab sample is collected from Crocket, a study participant from Bryan, Texas. (Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences)
Dr. Sarah Hamer, an epidemiologist, told KBTX-TV Friday that her team was testing dogs and cats who live in homes where the coronavirus has infected at least one person.
A team of researchers at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science has confirmed the first cats in Brazos County have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They also believe these would be the first two cats that have tested positive for the virus in Texas.
Dr. Sarah A. Hamer, a researcher on the project, told KBTX the two cats that tested positive were living in separate households.
“In both cases, these cats were asymptomatic,” said Dr. Hamer. “I can say that after we sampled, the owner let us know that one of the cats was sneezing for a few days after we left the house.”
The Covid-19 & Pets research project started in June. The veterinary researchers started working with the Brazos County Health Department to start conducting a study on cats and dogs that live in homes with confirmed human COVID-19 cases to learn more about animal exposure and transmission pathways.
She said now that they know there’s a chance for pets to become infected in COVID-positive homes, pet owners should be cautious if they become infected, but that they should not worry.
“Under no circumstances would an owner of an infected pet be asked to surrender their pets, and there’s no need to worry about a diagnosis. But when we do find out that a pet is positive, we would work with those owners to take preventative measures to make sure that that pet is staying home, it’s not interacting with other pets and is isolating in the same way that positive people would isolate,” said Dr. Hamer.
She explained to us how animals get involved in the study through the Brazos County Health Department.
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