British variant causes serious health problems in pets

Specialists at a veterinary hospital in the south-east of England noticed "atypical" manifestations, including severe heart abnormalities and a profound deterioration of the state of health, in dogs and cats infected with the British variant of coronavirus, as published in a study.

“Domestic pets can become infected with SARS-CoV-2 but, based on the limited information available to date, it is unknown whether the new British variant B.1.1.7 can more easily infect certain animal species or increase the possibility of human-animal transmission, ”said researchers at the Ralph Veterinary Referral Center (RVRC) in Marlow, south of the county of Buckinghamshire, England.

In this study, the researchers reported the first cases of infection of domestic dogs and cats by the British variant B.1.1.7 of SARS-CoV-2 diagnosed in a specialized veterinary hospital.

"In addition, we found that many owners and caretakers of these pets had developed respiratory symptoms of Covid-19 3-6 weeks before their pets became ill and had also tested positive for Covid-19 PCR," they maintained.

The novelty that the veterinarians detected is that "all these pets infected with B.1.1.7 developed atypical clinical manifestations, including serious cardiac anomalies secondary to myocarditis and a profound deterioration of the general state of health, but without primary respiratory signs".

As a background, on March 19, the laboratories of the Piedmont Liguria and Valle d'Aosta Zooprophylactic Institute (IZSPLV) announced that they had identified the first case of the English variant of SARS-CoV-2 (lineage B.1.1.7) in a cat.

"The positivity of the cat should not generate alarms", expressed in a statement Bartolomeo Griglio, head of Prevention of the Piedmont Region, and indicated that "due to the illness of their owners, pets are living in environments with a strong circulation viral and therefore it is not unexpected that they too can get the infection. "

Griglio clarified that, however, "there is no scientific evidence that they play a role in the spread of Covid-19", and that "interhuman contagion continues to be the main route of spread of the disease."

A few days earlier, on March 15, researchers from Texas A&M University also announced that they had found the UK variant in a dog and cat from the same household in Brazos County, Texas.

As reported by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on its page, so far "there is no scientific evidence that companion animals (dogs and cats) are a source of infection for humans."

However, the recommendations with animals "continue to be to wash your hands before and after interacting with them and their belongings", as well as to practice distancing in case of being sick.

With information from Page12