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How does COVID-19 impact your pets?

A tiger at Bronx Zoo in New York tested positive for COVID-19. Many cat and dog owners are now wondering what this means for their pets. A veterinarian explains.

DALLAS — There is still so much to learn about COVID-19, especially the impact it has on pets at home.

In the United States, as of now, it is not a major concern. 

"I'm not worried at all about our pets getting it. I'm not worried about pets transmitting it to other people," said Dr. Jana Bryant, a veterinarian with CityVet - Oak Lawn in Dallas. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated the same thing on its website: "At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread COVID-19 to people or that they might be a source of infection in the United States."

There are some rare cases outside the country. Dr. Bryant said, "There is one report of a cat in Belgium that was symptomatic after being infected with respiratory symptoms, but it is still being studied." 

In the United States, a Malayan tiger named Nadia from the Bronx Zoo in New York tested positive for COVID-19. Nadia, her sister, two Amur tigers, and three African lions developed a dry cough and are all expected to recover. 

RELATED: Tiger at New York City's Bronx Zoo tests positive for coronavirus

However, as far as house pets, there have been no cases reported in the U.S. 

Idexx Laboratories, a veterinary services company, is conducting research. 

"It's tested over 5,000 samples from sick dogs and cats in 17 countries, and they haven't gotten a single positive out of all this. So, if that puts anyone's mind at ease, I think that's an important fact," said Dr. Bryant. 

She said the main concern is still human to human spread of COVID-19. If a pet owner gets the novel coronavirus and coughs or sneezes on a pet, another person who touches their cat or dog can be exposed to the virus on the fur. 

Still, with an abundance of caution, those who are sick should limit contact with people and pets. 

For more information, visit the CDC, American Veterinary Medical Association.

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