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Investigation of SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated lesions in exotic and companion animals.

  • Rotstein, David S
  • Rotstein, David S
  • Peloquin, Sarah
  • Proia, Kathleen
  • Hart, Ellen
  • Lee, Jeongha
  • Vyhnal, Kristin K
  • Sasaki, Emi
  • Balamayooran, Gayathriy
  • Asin, Javier
  • Southard, Teresa
  • Rothfeldt, Laura
  • Venkat, Heather
  • Mundschenk, Peter
  • McDermott, Darby
  • Crossley, Beate
  • Ferro, Pamela
  • Gomez, Gabriel
  • Henderson, Eileen H
  • Narayan, Paul
  • And 8 more
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2022
eScholarship - University of California
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Documented natural infections with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in exotic and companion animals following human exposures are uncommon. Those documented in animals are typically mild and self-limiting, and infected animals have only infrequently died or been euthanized. Through a coordinated One Health initiative, necropsies were conducted on 5 animals from different premises that were exposed to humans with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. The combination of epidemiologic evidence of exposure and confirmatory real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction testing confirmed infection in 3 cats and a tiger. A dog was a suspect case based on epidemiologic evidence of exposure but tested negative for SARS-CoV-2. Four animals had respiratory clinical signs that developed 2 to 12 days after exposure. The dog had bronchointerstitial pneumonia and the tiger had bronchopneumonia; both had syncytial-like cells with no detection of SARS-CoV-2. Individual findings in the 3 cats included metastatic mammary carcinoma, congenital renal disease, and myocardial disease. Based on the necropsy findings and a standardized algorithm, SARS-CoV-2 infection was not considered the cause of death in any of the cases. Continued surveillance and necropsy examination of animals with fatal outcomes will further our understanding of natural SARS-CoV-2 infection in animals and the potential role of the virus in development of lesions.

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