Michigan’s first case of virus that causes COVID-19 found in Ingham County cat

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) announced today that the first case of SARS CoV-2 has been found in a cat from Ingham County.

The owners of the domestic shorthair were confirmed to have COVID-19 a week before the cat became sick.

SARS-CoV-2 is different from COVID-19, due to the fact that SARS virus causes COVID-19 in humans.

“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.”

According to MDARD, as of October 18, 2021, there have been 257 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in animals throughout the United States, including 99 cats, since the start of the pandemic.

Currently, there is no evidence suggesting that animals are playing a significant role in the transmission of the virus to humans and that the possibility is very low.

This is Michigan’s first confirmed case of the virus in a pet.

MDARD recommends as an additional step to protect your pets from the virus that causes COVID-19 includes people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 avoiding direct contact with animals. This includes kissing, snuggling, having animals sleep in an ill person’s bed or sharing food with an ill person.

If possible, another member of the household who is not sick should care for pets. If people with COVID-19 must care for a pet, wearing a mask as well as wash their hands before and after interacting with them.

Signs of SARS-CoV-2 in animals can include fever, sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, eye discharge, vomiting and diarrhea.

If you think your pet is sick with the virus or if you have concerns about your pet’s health, please contact your veterinarian. 

Testing is recommended in some circumstances, including for animals with recent exposure to a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.

A veterinarian will need to obtain approval to test animals for SARS-CoV-2 from MDARD by calling 800-292-3939.

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