The research into better understanding SARS-CoV-2 goes on, and a new study sheds some light on how likely our household pets are to get infected – specifically, finding that cats are more susceptible than dogs to the virus that causes COVID-19.
Scientists analyzed blood serum from a total of 239 pet cats and 510 pet dogs, collected between mid-April and mid-June of 2020, to look for antibodies that would indicate a previous infection of SARS-CoV-2.
The results showed that 8 percent of cats but fewer than 1 percent of dogs had contracted COVID-19, suggesting that the virus can be passed between species, and that cats are more likely to end up catching it and getting infected than dogs are.
"Because companion animals can be the source of a range of infectious diseases, determining how susceptible the two most popular pet species in the United States are to SARS-CoV-2 – and how prevalent the disease may be among them – could have significant impacts for both human and animal health," says molecular biologist Hinh Ly from the University of Minnesota.
The findings are just part of a bigger picture that researchers are starting to put together when it comes to animals and COVID-19. While we know pets can become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the likelihood of them becoming sick appears to be low.