Wednesday 9 June 2021

Female lion in Indian zoo the first cat to die of Covid-19?

A lioness who was asymptomatic of Covid-19 at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park, near the city of Chennai in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, has reportedly died of the disease and eight other big cats in the zoo had tested positive for the virus. I have been following the Covid-19 pandemic in relation to cats quite closely and I have not read a report until today of a cat dying of the virus. 

Female lion in Indian zoo the first cat to die of Covid-19?
 Female lion in Indian zoo the first cat to die of Covid-19?

In fact, the reporting is that domestic and wild cats who contract the disease have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic and they resolve the matter quite quickly. So, this is an unusual story. Of course, India is having a disastrous time of trying to control the virus for various reasons including bad management, a slow rollout of vaccinations and what appears to be an ill-disciplined approach by citizens with respect to social distancing and lockdowns which are understandably difficult to do because it results in job losses in huge numbers.

The lioness concerned was named Neela. She died on June 3 while samples taken from her to test for Covid 19 were being processed.

It is also reported in The Sun newspaper that two white tiger cubs died of Covid-19 in a Pakistan zoo in the early part of 2021 after an outbreak. They were 11-week-old cubs at the Lahore Zoo. They were being treated at the zoo but sadly died. Veterinary staff believed that there were suffering from feline panleukopenia.

The lions at the Indian zoo are being treated in house by their veterinary team together with experts of the Tamil Naidu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.

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