Domestic cats and dogs may have to be vaccinated in the future against Covid-19 to protect people

This is a quick note but one worth making nonetheless. I think I can predict that in the long term, perhaps in about 18 months to 2 years time, governments in various countries, perhaps predominantly in the West, will be thinking about vaccinating companion animals as a second phase protective measure against Covid-19.  This is because there is a concern amongst some scientists that animals may create a reservoir for mutant variants of the Covid-19 virus. As the virus is zoonotic it can theoretically and actually be transmitted from animals to people and this must apply also to companion animals. Danish mink farmer with white mink due to be euthanised. Photo per credit Perhaps because of the general panicked nature of governmental responses to the coronavirus pandemic, not enough work has been done on this aspect of the spread of the disease. In addition nobody wants to alarm anybody which may lead to companion animal abuse. In fact, in China, at the outset of the pandemic, there were

Arginine Deficiency in Cats

Cat eating rat - plenty of arginine - Photo by aj_1328
Arginine deficiency in cats is something that affects our cat rarely, but it is something that we should know about. Cats are very sensitive to arginine deficiency and it is life threatening. Provided a cat is feed a diet that contains enough protein it won't be a problem.

Arginine is an amino acid. Most species of adult animals synthesize arginine. "Synthesize" refers to a chemical reaction in which arginine is made. However cats and dogs have a limited capacity to synthesize it. It needs therefore to be in the diet as a dietary supplement. It is a "dietary essential"¹.

The metabolism of a high protein diet results in large amounts of ammonia being generated which has to be eliminated by conversion to urea for excretion from the body in urine. Arginine is essential in this process.

A lack of arginine causes an immediate and severe problem. Cats develop severe hyperammonemia "within several hours of consuming a single arginine-free meal" ¹ ("hyperammonemia" is excess ammonia in the blood).

Symptoms include: vomiting, muscular spasms, ataxia (lack of coordination), hyperesthesia, tetanic spasms, leading to coma and death. This indicates the importance of arginine. It is a hidden importance as this nutrient is almost always included in the cat's diet because it is present in nearly all protein sources.

Note: (1) The Cat It's Behavior, Nutrition & Health page 305 ISBN 978-0-8138-0331-9


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