Here at CAWSEL we’ve gathered some facts about the recent news confirming that Nadiaa, a Malayan tiger at Bronx Zoo in New York has tested positive for COVID-19.
The news was covered world wide in publications such as National Geographic, BBC News, The New York Times to name but a few. From information gathered via One Health and through research, CAWSEL Ambassador Tara Gaab, has collated the presently known facts:
- Official update from the British Veterinary Association (BVA) recommends cats are kept indoor if 1) you are COVID positive, and 2) it won’t negatively affect your cat’s welfare. The BVA are stressing that COVID-19 does not seem to be transmitted from animals to people. Read the full statement here: https://www.bva.co.uk/news-and-blog/news-article/bva-statement-on-cats-and-covid-19/
- This is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in an animal in the US. Though all species of animals have their own versions of coronavirus that result in a variety of clinical signs, this is the first confirmed COVID-19 case specifically in an animal in the United States.
- Multiple animals in the exhibit were reported to be exhibiting similar clinical signs, but only one animal was tested. Because the nature of the test requires the animal to be under anaesthesia, the veterinarians involved in this case felt that anesthetizing every animal with clinical signs was an unnecessary potential risk to their welfare, so only one tiger was tested and subsequently confirmed positive.
- It’s likely that these animals were exposed to the virus by a zoo worker who was actively shedding the virus.
- This does NOT mean that animals can give COVID-19 to humans. It also does NOT mean that every animal can be infected with COVID-19 by humans with the disease. Further research needs to be done on both fronts to determine those answers.
Subsequently, this does NOT mean that people need to be getting rid of/pre-emptively euthanizing their pets.
- However, the USDA IS recommending that if someone is confirmed to have COVID-19, they should make every effort to quarantine themselves from animals if possible, just as they would from other members of their household. (This has also been recommended by the CDC since March 27: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/animals.html)
As a side-note, it’s a good idea to have a contingency plan for your pet(s) if you become sick and cannot take care of them. Reach out to family members, friends, neighbours & your veterinarian to make sure that someone will be able to care for your pet in the event that you cannot safely do so.
- There will NOT be mass-testing of animals. If someone believes their animal is exhibiting signs that may indicated a COVID-19 infection (fever & dry cough are the two big ones), then they need to contact their veterinarian. The veterinarian must then contact their state animal health officials, and together they will decide if that animal needs to be tested.
Read the official USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Statement here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/news/sa_by_date/sa-2020/ny-zoo-covid-19