Monday 26 July 2021

Cats get Covid-19 more often than dogs

There have been more studies on cats and dogs in respect of the coronavirus (Covid-19) recently, and they clearly point to the fact that domestic cats are more susceptible to getting the disease than domestic dogs.

Cats contract Covid-19 more often than dogs
Cats contract Covid-19 more often than dogs. Montage: MikeB

In one study published on the Science website titled: Susceptibility of ferrets, cats, dogs, and other domesticated animals to SARS-coronavirus 2, they ranked pets in order of their susceptibility to contracting the coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2). 

In the summary they say that the virus infects the upper respiratory tracts of ferrets. In cats the virus "replicated in the nose and throat and caused inflammatory pathology deep in the respiratory tract". But they say that "airborne transmission did not occur between pairs of cats". 

In dogs, viral replication was not as prevalent as in cats and they had a low susceptibility to the virus. Pigs, chickens and ducks were not susceptible to SARS-Cov-2.

In a second study from the University of Minnesota they looked at how common the virus is in domestic cats and dogs i.e. the prevalence of the disease in these pets.

They found that antibodies were present in 8% of domestic cats for the virus while less than 1% of dogs had these antibodies. This study backs up the earlier one namely that dogs are less susceptible to contracting the disease in cats. When an animal has antibodies to a virus it means that they've had the disease and their immune system has produced antibodies to combat the disease. This is how vaccines work.

The conclusion from these two studies is clear namely that cats contract the disease far more easily than dogs. Once again, it is strongly suggested that cats do not transmit the disease to others including other cats. Or there appears to be a low likelihood of this happening. I don't have the name of the second study but the lead co-author was Hinh Ly which may help people to search for it.

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