4. Tigers and Lions
The Bronx Zoo in New York City is where it was first discovered that animals can contract COVID-19 from humans, as reported by National Geographic. First, one tiger was diagnosed with the virus, while several lions were beginning to show symptoms. Then three more lions and five more tigers contracted COVID, presumably from a zookeeper who was asymptomatic. The first tiger, called Nadia, had developed a dry cough. Other wild cats at the Bronx Zoo began developing a similar cough and loss of appetite. Though tigers and lions can catch coronavirus from humans, there have been no reported cases of humans catching it from these animals.
3. Cats and Dogs
Apparently, specific strains of coronavirus can cause symptoms in domestic cats and dogs. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there have been a few cases of these animals contracting COVID when in close proximity with an infected human. “To protect your pet from the COVID-19 virus, don’t let your dog or cat interact with people or animals outside your household.” the CDC recommends. They also suggest avoiding dog parks, always using a leash when outdoors, and keeping your pet at least six feet away from others in public.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) viruses aren’t new infections for hamsters. Syrian hamsters were proven able to contract SARS around 15 years ago, and now it seems they are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 as well. Their COVID symptoms are similar to those in humans, including fatigue and shortness of breath. This means studying how hamsters recover from coronavirus may help scientists find more and better ways to heal the virus in humans.
Respiratory diseases have been studied in ferrets for many years, as they are prone to catching them pretty easily. COVID-19 is no exception. The ferret is another animal that can contract the virus and suffer similar symptoms as humans do. Studies with nasal sprays are helping scientists determine how they can help ferrets — and hopefully people — block the infection entirely. First test results are promising, but as with most COVID treatments more testing is needed.
For now, it’s important to keep the animals around us in mind as people take precautions to stop coronavirus spread.Related: 10 Signs You’ve Already Had COVID-19