2 pet cats in NY test positive for COVID-19: Is your pet at risk?

As if coronavirus in people isn’t scary enough, the American Veterinary Medical Association has confirmed two household cats in New York tested positive for COVID-19.

"There have been over 800,000 positive cases confirmed in people in the U.S.A.," says Dr. Angela Chesanek, offering some perspective.  "There have been thousands of pets that have been tested. There have only been two pets that have tested positive in the United States."

Both cats that tested positive had an owner who had also tested positive for COVID-19.

"So the AVMA is telling us that, if you test positive, ideally someone else should care for your animal in your household, just to try and eliminate that concern," Dr. Chesanek adds.

If it’s not an option, or if your pet is a service animal, Dr. Chesanek says be extra cautious.

"Treat it how you would other household members, where maybe you wear a mask, you wash your hands more frequently."

Now that we’re learning that we could give our pets COVID-19, most want to know if the pet give the virus to other people.  

"That pet is not a source of infection for your husband or your child or other people in your house hold," Dr. Chesanek says.

Right now, veterinarians do not believe that animals can spread COVID-19 to other animals either.  Dr. Chesanek telling me symptoms in pets are much more subtle than in people.  

"If you notice your pet is licking their nose more often, they sound audibly congested, they’re sneezing a lot -- rarely cats will cough but that will be more common in a dog with respiratory issue is coughing."

Since so much is still unknown about coronavirus in animals, Dr. Chesanek recommends not letting others pet your dogs when you're out for your daily walk.