Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in a cat owned by a COVID-19−affected patient in Spain

25 Set 2020
423 volte

COVID-19 is the most devastating pandemic in recent history. As with many emerging infectious diseases, it is of zoonotic origin, meaning that animals played a major role in the initial transmission events. Despite SARS-CoV-2 being highly adapted to jump from human to human, several animal species are naturally susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, including pets such as cats. In the present report, a cat from a family with several relatives affected by COVID-19 developed severe respiratory clinical signs, leading to humanitarian euthanasia. Due to the suspicion of a potential COVID-19 infection in the cat, different antemortem and postmortem tests were assayed. The clinical condition was finally attributed to a feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, but the animal was also infected by SARS-CoV-2.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of COVID-19, is considered a zoonotic pathogen mainly transmitted human to human. Few reports indicate that pets may be exposed to the virus. The present report describes a cat suffering from severe respiratory distress and thrombocytopenia living with a family with several members affected by COVID-19. Clinical signs of the cat prompted humanitarian euthanasia and a detailed postmortem investigation to assess whether a COVID-19−like disease was causing the condition.

Necropsy results showed the animal suffered from feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and severe pulmonary edema and thrombosis. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was only detected in nasal swab, nasal turbinates, and mesenteric lymph node, but no evidence of histopathological lesions compatible with a viral infection were detected. The cat seroconverted against SARS-CoV-2, further evidencing a productive infection in this animal. We conclude that the animal had a subclinical SARS-CoV-2 infection concomitant to an unrelated cardiomyopathy that led to euthanasia.


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Scienzaonline con sottotitolo Sciencenew  - Periodico
Autorizzazioni del Tribunale di Roma – diffusioni:
telematica quotidiana 229/2006 del 08/06/2006
mensile per mezzo stampa 293/2003 del 07/07/2003
Scienceonline, Autorizzazione del Tribunale di Roma 228/2006 del 29/05/06
Pubblicato a Roma – Via A. De Viti de Marco, 50 – Direttore Responsabile Guido Donati

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