Tiger Confirmed First and Only Animal with COVID-19

Tiger with COVID-19

We are constantly learning about COVID-19 and how it affects everyone. A tiger at the Bronx Zoo recently tested positive after presenting a dry cough. Nadia, the Malayan Tiger, is expected to make a full recovery. The zoo said the Tiger was infected by a person caring for her who was asymptomatically infected with the virus.

Dr. Frione’s Response

It is not known how this disease will develop in animals since different species can react differently to novel infections, but we will continue to monitor them closely. We also suspect cats are a dead-end host. There is still no evidence of transmission to humans through pets, so please do not abandon your pet in fear of contracting COVID-19. 

However, because it is a rapidly developing situation, proper hygiene should still be practiced. Anyone showing clinical signs of COVID-19 should minimize contact with pets by having another member in the household care for the pet. If no one else is available to help, use an abundance of caution by wearing gloves and a mask while caring for them until more information is known about the virus, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Details from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

In April 2020, the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed SARS-CoV-2 in one tiger in a zoo in New York. This is the first instance of a tiger being infected with COVID-19. Samples from the tiger were obtained and tested after several lions and tigers at the zoo showed clinical signs of respiratory illness. Public health officials believe the large cats became sick after exposure to an employee who was actively shedding virus. The zoo was closed in mid-March and the first tiger began showing clinical signs on March 27. All of the large cats are expected to recover and no other animals in the zoo are exhibiting clinical signs of disease. USDA and CDC are continuing to monitor the animals, and state animal and public health officials will determine whether other animals, at this zoo or in other areas, should be tested for SARS-CoV-2. The OIE will also be notified.

Read the full AVMA article to find out what else we know about COVID-19 in other species. If you have any questions about your pet, contact us. We are now offering curbside pick-up and delivery concierge services to support social distancing.

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