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Two Brazos County cats test positive for virus that causes COVID-19

Texas A&M: First COVID-19 positive cats in Texas
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Posted at 4:32 PM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 17:40:37-04

Two cats have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in Brazos County.

The diagnoses were discovered during a research project led by Dr. Sarah Hammer of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and in collaboration with the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Texas A&M School of Public Health.

The group recruited participants for the study, sampled pets at each household and then tested the samples in their laboratory facilities.

“By actively screening pets who may not be symptomatic and who are living with people who have tested positive for COVID-19, Dr. Hamer’s project provides important new information about the transmission pathways of the virus,” said Dr. John August, interim dean of the CVMBS. “This project reflects the dedication and leadership of scientists from three of our colleges at Texas A&M University, working together with a One Health approach to improve animal and human health and to address this serious pandemic.”

Since beginning their sampling of cats and dogs whose owners consented to their participation, the team has identified two asymptomatic cats from different houses in Brazos County. The animals tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, while living in a household with a person who was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Additional pets have confirmatory testing underway.

“At the time we collected samples from these cats at their houses, the owners did not report any signs of disease in their pets during the course of their own illnesses, but one of the cats later developed several days of sneezing after we tested it,” Hamer said.

According to Texas A&M, these are the first COVID-19 positive cats in Texas.