Mary Hightower/U of A System Division of Agriculture
LITTLE ROCK — Veterinary health experts are advising individuals who have COVID-19, or suspect they do, to limit contact with their pets. Heidi Ward, extension veterinarian for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said the Arkansas Department of Health recently confirmed that a central Arkansas cat was found to be infected with the virus.
The house cat, the first COVID-19 infected feline in Arkansas, is reported to have recovered and is healthy.
“People need to be aware that they should distance themselves from their pets if they have tested positive for COVID,” Ward said. “Animals infected with the virus typically develop mild to moderate respiratory symptoms. If a person finds out they are positive for COVID-19 and suspect that their pet is also infected, they should call their veterinarian for guidance.”
Limiting contact means no snuggling, sleeping in the same bed or sharing food with pets. Pet owners who test positive for the virus might consider having someone “pet sit” until the owner is clear of COVID.
For more information about the virus in animals and recommendations for pet owners, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/animals/pets-other-animals.html.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infections of cats and dogs have been reported in the United States and other countries. A ferret in Slovenia also tested positive. Lions, tigers and a puma, along with some great apes, have tested positive. The CDC suspects these zoo animals contracted the virus after coming in contact with COVID-infected zoo employees.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture tracks positive tests in animals at: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/sa_one_health/sars-cov-2-animals-us.
For more information, visit the animals tab at www.uaex.edu/Covid19.
To learn about extension and research programs in Arkansas, visit https://division.uaex.edu/
Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk, @uaex_edu or @ArkAgResearch.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.