First Michigan pet tests positive for COVID-19 – ABC 12 News

LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) – A house cat from Ingham County is the first pet in Michigan with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says numerous pets have tested positive for the illness around the country, but the domestic shorthair cat is the first confirmed in the state.

The cat’s owners tested positive for COVID-19 a week before the cat got ill. The cat developed sneezing, but animal officials say it since has recovered.

“Given the other reported cases of SARS-CoV-2 being found in pets throughout the world, this detection is not unexpected,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland. “The cases in animals generally have involved direct contact with an owner or caretaker who was ill or tested positive for COVID-19.”

COVID-19 symptoms in pets also can include fever, cough, nasal discharge, eye discharge, vomiting and diarrhea. Pet owners who suspect an illness should contact a veterinarian, who can ask the state to approve an animal COVID-19 test.

The U.S. has seen 257 confirmed COVID-19 illnesses in animals as of Monday, including 99 cats. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says there is no evidence showing animals are passing the illness to humans in significant numbers.

“COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, and talking,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan’s chief medical executive. “Protecting pets begins by taking precautions to protect yourself by getting one of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.”

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development advises pet owners to keep their animals away from people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 illnesses. Someone who isn’t sick should care for pets as much as possible.

Anyone who is ill and needs to care for their pets should wear a face covering and wash their hands frequently.

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