A few quick updates and comments.

Are pugs a high risk breed for SARS-CoV-2?

This question has come up a few times since the report of an infected pug in North Carolina. It has been suggested by some people in news articles that pugs are higher risk for getting infected. Like other brachycephalic (squishy faced) breeds, some pugs are at increased risk of respiratory disease in general. They are also at increased risk of complications if they get a respiratory infection of any kind. But they should otherwise not be at increased risk of getting infected with this particular virus compared to any other similarly exposed dog.

So, pug owners should relax (some have apparently already asked about getting rid of their dogs). If you own a pug, it is probably at increased risk of complications if it gets infected with SARS-CoV-2 (or any other respiratory virus), but it should not be at increased risk of getting infected in the first place, and the odds of any dog getting infected are very low.

Update on two positive cats in New York

Antibodies to SARS-CoV2 were detected in the blood of both cats from New York that tested positive by PCR in late April . This is not unexpected, but it is one more indication that they were truly infected.

Infected cat in France

In a study of cats owned by people with COVID-19 in France, one cat was identified as positive by PCR.  There’s no mention of how many cats were tested (yet). The positive cat had mild respiratory and gastrointestinal disease, and only its rectal swab (not the throat swab) was positive.

This result isn’t surprising either, as it’s likely that a reasonably large number of human-cat infections have occurred. As has been typical so far, the cat had mild disease. I’ve had some anecdotal reports that suggest some cats can get more serious disease but we need to properly investigate those. This report is just one more piece of evidence indicating that human-animal transmission of this virus is occurring. Human and animal health implications of this are probably limited but it’s an area we need to keep studying.