HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – State Veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brightbill has announced Pennsylvania’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a cat.
The 16-year-old Cumberland County cat lives in a household where other individuals have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and presented symptoms of a mild respiratory illness earlier this month. While a primary cause of death has not been confirmed, the Pennsylvania cat has been humanely euthanized following respiratory distress.
While this cat joins a handful of other COVID-19 positive pets from across the country who have died or were euthanized while infected, none to date appear to have died from COVID-19–but rather other serious underlying illnesses.
Dr. Brightbill encourages Pennsylvanians to keep a close eye on their companion animals while spending more time at home during the pandemic.
“If you or a loved one becomes diagnosed with COVID-19, take steps to keep your pet healthy, just as you would your family,” said Dr. Brightbill.
The Department of Agriculture and Health encourage Pennsylvanians to protect their pets by adhering to the same guidelines put in place for people who have tested positive for COVID-19. These guidelines include avoiding contact with pets and other animals, such as petting, holding, and sleeping in the same bed, and wearing a mask and washing hands before feeding or tending to a pet if owners are unable to find alternative care, as well.
Symptoms of COVID-19 positive pets include fever, coughing, or difficulty breathing. At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading COVID-19 to people, according to the Pennsylvania DOA.