UK reports first animal COVID-19 case in a pet cat

London: The UK has reported the country’s first confirmed COVID-19 case in an animal, according to the country’s Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss.

The infection, detected in a pet cat, was confirmed following tests at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) laboratory in Weybridge on July 22, reports Xinhua news agency.

However, there is “no evidence to suggest that pets directly transmit the virus to humans”, the Middlemiss said on Monday.

“We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will update our guidance to pet owners should the situation change,” said Middlemiss.

All available evidence suggests that the cat contracted the coronavirus from its owners who had previously tested positive for the virus, according to a statement from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

The cat and its owners have since made a full recovery and there was no transmission to other animals or people in the household.

“This is a very rare event with infected animals detected to date only showing mild clinical signs and recovering within a few days,” said Middlemiss.

Daniella Dos Santos, President of the British Veterinary Association, said: “Our advice to pet owners who have Covid-19 or who are self-isolating with symptoms remains to restrict contact with their pets as a precautionary measure and to practise good hygiene, including regular handwashing.

“We also recommend that owners who are confirmed or suspected to have Covid-19 should keep their cat indoors if possible, but only if the cat is happy to be kept indoors. Some cats cannot stay indoors due to stress-related medical reasons.”

(With inputs from IANS)

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