St Paul (KROC AM News) -  A new type of COVID-19 case in Minnesota was revealed this week - a pet.

State officials say a cat in Carver County was confirmed to be infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans. This was the first reported case involving an animal in Minnesota.

The confirmation came a week after its owner was confirmed to be infected with COVID-19. The owner’s veterinarian said the cat was healthy five days after the initial visit. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health and Minnesota Department of Health recommended the cat remain isolated at home for 14 days following the positive test results. The cat’s owner also has a dog in the household and the veterinarian reports it remains healthy at this time

The veterinarian reported that the cat presented at the clinic with a 105F temperature and symptoms consistent with upper respiratory illness. The veterinarian chose to collect a sample for SARS-CoV-2 testing based on the symptoms and the fact that the owner was confirmed to have COVID-19. All veterinary clinic staff reported wearing personal protective equipment including face masks when interacting with the owner and handling the cat to limit any potential spread of the virus.

“At this time, there is no evidence that pets play a role in spreading COVID-19 to people or other animals” said State Veterinarian, Dr. Beth Thompson. “It’s always important to isolate ill pets from healthy people and pets when possible, just as ill people should be isolated from healthy people and pets. If you suspect your pet is ill, contact your veterinarian.”

While this is the first confirmed animal detection in Minnesota, it’s not the first in the U.S. The USDA announced cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in April in two pet cats in New York. At this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended.

If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would around other people. Ask another member of your household to care for your pets while you are sick. Avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food or bedding. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.


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