While it’s obviously mostly affected humans, there have been quite a few reports of COVID-19 also infecting dogs, cats and other household pets and even wild animals since the beginning of the pandemic.
Newly released data on animal infections by a team of Austrian researchers who worked with the Wildlife Conservation Society is still limited but says that there’s been 704 confirmed cases in a total of 39 countries across 27 different animal species.
As for the death rate amongst critters, the tally is close to 3 percent.
The symptoms COVID infected animals experience are usually of a respiratory nature, along with gastrointestinal or behavioral issues.
The researchers stressed that it is not possible to clearly know the true impact of the coronavirus in the wilderness but the documented cases have been confirmed via PCR tests and are a pretty strong foundation to begin building on.
Professor at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Amélie Desvars-Larrive, who is also the leader of the research team, shared via a study that accompanied the data that “The dashboard intends to support public education about the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission between humans and animals and raise public awareness about possible wildlife conservation issues posed by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.”
The experts think that it is really important to know which animals can get infected with the virus and what exactly happens to them due to the fact that it might help with tracking virus mutations as well as the cases of, still rare, animal to human transmission.
With that being said, it appears that, among the documented cases, 187 have been in mink, 177 in cats and 160 in dogs.
Other cases that appear further down the list happened to hamsters, tigers, white tailed deer, lions and beavers.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention think that pets and even other animals in the wild are infected by humans and not the other way around.
This is because they tend to have lower viral loads than people and tend to also shed the virus for a shorter time.
The CDC states that “Pets infected with the virus may or may not even get sick. Out of the pets that have gotten sick, most of them only had mild symptoms and fully recovered. Serious illness in pets is extremely rare.”