Cats can become infected with the Coronavirus dogs tend not to

The origin of many coronaviruses is in the animal Kingdom: The Sars-1 Virus probably originates from the so-called Chinese civets – the Mers Virus from camels. The source of the latest Coronavirus, Sars-CoV-2, however, is not known. Similar viruses, researchers found first of all at bats, but more likely the pathogen took advantage of an intermediate host, before he passed on to the people.

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The first cases of Covid-19 were found on a wild animal market in the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan. Since then, the Virus rapidly spreads across the globe: More than a Million people worldwide are officially infected with Sars-CoV-2. The number of unreported cases is likely to be significant.

The jump succeeds, the Virus back to the animal Kingdom? The Virus is also a potential danger for Pets such as dogs and cats? The questions currently many pet owners. Headlines for, among other things, the case of a dog from Hong Kong, in the genetic Material of the virus could be detected provided. It is unclear, however, whether the animal was truly infected with the pathogen. Perhaps it had eaten simply a used handkerchief or his ill Mr Chen on the Hand licked. Also could have a virus detection result. The detection of viral RNA alone does not mean that the pathogen in the host can actually multiply.

Chinese researchers have investigated this question under more scientific conditions in the laboratory. The study is published on a so-called Pre-Print Server. So it hasn’t been examined yet by independent experts.

For the study, they infected Pets with a greater amount of virus. Especially in the case of cats, the experiment yielded interesting insights: In the ear, nose and throat of the animals, but also in the tonsils, the researchers were able, for several days after virus administration life prove capable of coronaviruses, suggesting that the pathogen must have been in the animals increased, and thus an infection is present. In the lungs of the animals, the researchers found no viruses.

Apparently, the pathogen can be transmitted from cat to cat. This is a second attempt, the researcher suggests. In addition to the cages of three infected animals, they each provided a cage with a healthy cat. In the feces of the animals could be detected the Virus. In addition, antibodies against Sars had made it-CoV-2. The researchers believe that the Virus is transmitted via droplet infection from animal to animal. The other two cats are not plugged in, does not speak, however, for a high level of infectivity. Possibly, the previously healthy cat had become infected elsewhere with Sars-CoV-2. Also an impurity in the evaluation of the samples would be theoretically conceivable.

First the all-clear, the researchers give for dogs: In the case of several Beagles in spite of similar experimental set-up no live Virus could be demonstrated. “These results suggest that dogs have a lower susceptibility to Sars-CoV-2”, the researchers write. The same is true for pigs, chickens and ducks.

Coronavirus in cats – no need to worry

That the Virus could be demonstrated in cats, it does not mean, however, that the animals can infect the reverse people. The number of animals tested was very low, so that no General conclusions can be derived. On the other hand, the animals were infected with a high dose of viruses – a Situation that will be in a normal household never. As the Virologist Linda Saif explained to “Nature”, there is no evidence that cats emit enough virus to infect humans.

None of the Sars-cats have shown symptoms of the disease. In addition, only a cat in a cage got infected-experiment with the virus. “This suggests that the Virus is found in cats may be highly transferable,” said Saif.

Should pet owners go for but nevertheless, on the safe and distance to your loved one to adhere to? Cuddling must also be in spite of the Corona is not prohibited, said the veterinarian, Achim Gruber recently in an interview with Deutsche-Presse-Agentur: “If an animal is well protected, regularly wormed and vaccinated, holds proximity from a medical point of view, even now no large risk – Cuddling is allowed. Be careful, however, should be as usual people with a severe immune deficiency. You should always keep more distance to the animals.”

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