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

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

Online publication: 06/10/2020 Printed publication: 6 October 2020 Journal: PNAS


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.

Authors: Joaquim Segalés, Mariona Puig, Jordi Rodon, Carlos Avila-Nieto, Jorge Carrillo, Guillermo Cantero, Maria Teresa Terrón, Sílvia Cruz, Mariona Parera, Marc Noguera-Julián, Nuria Izquierdo-Useros, Víctor Guallar, Enric Vidal, Alfonso Valencia, Ignacio Blanco, Julià Blanco, Bonaventura Clotet, Júlia Vergara-Alert

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