Tuesday 26 October 2021

Cats are 'at least mildly susceptible to Covid-19' - Cornell

This is the first time I have seen this remark from a distinguished institution whose word counts. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine say that cats are 'at least mildly susceptible to Covid'. Do you find that troubling?

Cornell's opinion about Covid comes on the back of a story about 15 lions in Utah, Denver zoos testing positive for Covid's Delta variant. 11 lions at Colorado's Denver Zoo and 4 lions from Utah's Hogle Zoo (UHZ) caught the disease based upon observed symptoms such as coughing, sneezing and acting lethargically.

The lions at Denver Zoo are between the ages of 1-9 years old. They were tested using nasal swabs at Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Collins. The tests were confirmed as positive by the United States Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratories.

ASSOCIATED: Can captive big cats in zoos get Covid-19 from their food?

The vast majority of the lions recovered without, as I understand it, the intervention of medication and treatment from humans. The lion's were exhibited in the same way because the zoo's administration believed that customers are safe from infection from the cats. There are no other animals at the zoos which have contracting the Covid virus.

ASSOCIATED: Pictures of two tigers being tested for Covid-19

UHZ have protocols to protect the animals such as increased use of personal protective equipment, increased cleaning procedures, staff health monitoring and regulated staff involvement. They vowed to be "extra-cautious and vigilant during the pandemic, with a key focus on the safety of staff, guests animals" - Dr. Nancy Carpenter at UHZ.

I was surprised to read Cornell's opinion about the susceptibility of cats to this disease. I wonder if there will be any further developments - reservoir issues? Until now the number of cats either domestic or wild contracting the disease has been minuscule in comparison to the number of humans. However, there seems to be an increase in the number of big cats in zoos contracting the disease despite precautions being taken. 

It seems to me that the lions can only be contract the disease from zoo workers which begs the question as to why the administration of the zoos are not fully up to scratch on testing their employees combined with full vaccination programs.

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