2 K-State studies focus on coronavirus disease transmission in domestic cats, pigs

Coronavirus

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Cats can be asymptomatic carriers of coronavirus, but pigs are unlikely to be significant carriers of the virus according to a recently published study from Kansas State University.

“Other research has shown that COVID-19-infected human patients are transmitting SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus disease) to cats; this includes domestic cats and even large cats, such as lions and tigers,” said Jürgen A. Richt, professor at Kansas State University in the College of Veterinary Medicine. “Our findings are important because of the close association between humans and companion animals.”

There are about 95 million house cats in the U.S. and about 60 million to 100 million feral cats, Richt said.

The Kansas State study, shared with the public on Nov. 18, found domestic cats may not have obvious clinical signs of SARS-CoV-2, but they still shed the virus through their nasal, oral and rectal cavities and can spread it efficiently to other cats within two days.

In April, the New York Zoo reported a tiger had tested positive for the coronavirus.

For the study involving pigs, the researchers found that SARS-CoV-2-infected pigs are not susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and do not appear to transmit the virus to other animals.

“Pigs play an important role in U.S. agriculture, which made it important to determine the potential SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility in pigs,” Richt said. “Our results show that pigs are unlikely to be significant carriers of SARS-CoV-2.”

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