Nothing too remarkable to report, but here are a few recent developments.
Details about the first two SARS-CoV-2-positive dogs in Hong Kong have been published in Nature. We’ve previously heard most of the information before, but here’s a quick summary:
- Two out of 15 dogs were identified as positive for SARS-CoV-2, after being in contact with COVID-19-infected owners.
- The first dog was a 17-year-old Pomeranian. SARS-CoV-2 was isolated from nasal and oral swabs shortly after it arrived in quarantine, and it had positive nasal swab results multiple times over 13 days. It also produced antibodies against the virus (seroconverted). The repeated isolation of the virus and seroconversion are convincing evidence that the dog was infected. However, it did not have any apparent signs of illness from SARS-CoV-2. It died shortly after its quarantine ended but that was attributed to its old age and other issues, not the virus (see figure below for timeline info).
- The 2nd dog was a 2.5-year-old German Shepherd, one of two dogs in the household of another COVID-19-infected person. The virus was detected from sets of oral and nasal swabs collected on arrival and the next day, but further samples were negative shortly thereafter. Rectal swabs were also collected at the second sampling time and were positive. This dog also seroconverted and remained healthy.
- Unsurprisingly, when they looked at the genetic sequence of viruses from the dogs and their respective owners, viral sequences from the dogs were identical to those from their owners (and sequences from the two households were different). This supports the assumption that the dogs were infected by their owners.
Another couple of infected cats have been identified, one from Germany and one from France.
The German cat’s owner was in a retirement home with an ongoing outbreak, and had died of COVID-19. The cat was infected, while two other cats at the facility were negative. The cat was healthy, as seems to be fairly common with infected cats.
The other cat was the 2nd reported positive cat from France. This cat had respiratory disease that was non-responsive to antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, and it’s quite possible those signs were the result of COVID-19, but we can’t rule out other underlying causes based on the available information.
There are now four mink farms in the Netherlands with confirmed outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 in the animals. There’s still limited public information about the number of infected mink or information about transmission patterns on these farms. With thousands of animals on each premisis, there is certainly concern about the potential for widespread transmission, as well as ancillary issues such as what to do with all of the potentially contaminated manure. There’s not much mention of illness in the mink, but it’s apparent that at least some have developed respiratory disease, including fatal infections, with pregnant mink seemingly predisposed to illness.