The results of these antibody tests, published recently in the journal Virulence, suggest that domestic cats are more susceptible than dogs to infection with SARS-CoV-2.
Fortunately, infected cats appear to show mild symptoms at best. “I’m always a little surprised that cats are so easily infected and yet rarely show signs of illness,” said Dr. Angela Bosco-Lauth, a biomedical researcher at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of State of Colorado, which was not involved in the research.
And there is still no evidence to suggest that infected cats or dogs pose a risk to humans, said Dr Jonathan Runstadler, a virologist at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine who has studied how the coronavirus affects animals but was not involved in the new work.
The new study supports recent research that it may be “quite common” in households where people who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 for cats and dogs are also infected, Dr Runstadler said.
To test for antibodies in pets, researchers in Minnesota needed serum from animals, the component of blood that contains antibodies. Dr Ly contacted Dr Daniel Heinrich, director of the clinical pathology laboratory at the university’s veterinary center. (Dr Henrich is also author of the new study.) Pets passed through the center daily and their blood was tested for a myriad of reasons, including “annual health checkups, unrelated illness, inappropriate pee on the wall.” “Said Dr Ly.