Pa. Department of Health confirms first COVID-19 positive cat in the state


The cat was one of several pets across the U.S. that died or were euthanized while infected with COVID-19

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WYTV) – Pennsylvania Veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brightbill announced Tuesday that the state confirmed its first COVID-19 positive cat.

The 16-year-old cat lived in a Cumberland County home where multiple people were previously diagnosed with COVID-19.

The cat started having mild respiratory symptoms in early October and was later euthanized due to respiratory distress.

A primary cause of death has not yet been confirmed.

The cat was one of several pets across the U.S. that died or were euthanized while infected with COVID-19. To date, all the pets have had other underlying illness that attributed to the cause of death.

“As Pennsylvanians have spent more time at home throughout the pandemic, our companion animals have undoubtedly been the recipients of extra love and attention,” said Dr. Brightbill. “If you or a loved one becomes diagnosed with COVID-19, take steps to keep your pet healthy, just as you would your family.”

The Department of Health encourages pet owners to follow these guidelines to keep their pets safe:

  • Avoid contact with pets and other animals, as you would other people.
  • Arrange for another household member to care for your pet(s) while you or family members are in isolation.
  • Avoid contact such as petting, holding, snuggling, facial contact and sleeping in the same bed.
  • Wear a mask and wash your hands before feeding or tending to your pet if you are unable to find alternative care for them.

COVID-19 symptoms in pets include fever, coughing, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, lethargy, sneezing, nose or eye discharge, vomiting or diarrhea.

If your pet has these symptoms after being in contact with someone with COVID-19, contact your vet.

At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading COVID-19 to people. COVID-19 is mainly spread through person-to-person contact.

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