Michigan’s first case of SARS-CoV-2 identified in a cat

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has confirmed the state’s first case of SARS-CoV-2 in a pet cat in Ingham County.

The cat, a domestic shorthair, had close contact with its owners, who were confirmed to have COVID-19 about a week before the cat got sick.

The cat was tested after it began to sneeze and has since recovered.

A number of pets have tested positive for the virus worldwide but this is the first instance in Michigan.

“Given the other reported cases of SARS-CoV-2 being found in pets throughout the world, this detection is not unexpected,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. “The cases in animals generally have involved direct contact with an owner or caretaker who was ill or tested positive for COVID-19.”

As of October 18, 2021, there have been 257 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in animals in the United States since the start of the pandemic. This includes 99 cats.

There is no evidence to suggest animals play a substantial role in spreading the virus to humans.

To protect pets from the virus, it is recommended that people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 avoid direct contact with the animals.

Signs of the virus in animals can include fever, sneezing, coughing, nasal or eye discharge, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.

If you think your pet is sick with the virus, contact your veterinarian.

Testing is recommended in some circumstances and a veterinarian will need to get approval to test animals for SARS-CoV-2 from MDARD by calling 800-292-3939.

Visit the CDC’s website or the United States Department of Agriculture’s website for more information.

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