In a new study, researchers at the University of Minnesota studied the incidents of COVID-19 in household pets such as dogs and cats and found that cats were more easily affected by the virus. The research was carried out to find the prevalence of cross transmission between pets or companion animals and their owners.
The team conducted the study for two months between mid-April to mid-June 2020 when the virus was spreading across the nation. They studied samples of blood serum taken from 510 dogs and 239 cats and conducted two new serological tests.
Results from the test showed that eight percent of the cats had antibodies in their blood serum while less than one percent of dogs had the same. This led them to conclude that cats might be more susceptible to COVID-19 infections. The team is planning to conduct a follow up during the final months of last year when the positivity rate was at a peak.
Co-author of the study Hinh Ly said that companion animals could be a source of a series of infectious diseases. The study wished to determine the susceptibility of the two most popular pets in the U.S. to COVID-19. It also wanted to check the prevalence of the infection among these pets. The infection among pets could significantly affect both animal and human health.
Dr. Jonathan Runstadler , a virologist at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine that there is no evidence that shows that infected cats or dogs pose a risk to humans. The Tufts University virologist was not a part of the new study.
Research on pets getting infected all over the world have shown that these pets get the infection from their owners who are infected or a family member who is infected. When humans social distance from other humans it has been suggested that they social distance from their pets as well.