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Add Tigers to the List of Animals That Can Get Coronavirus

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Posted: Apr 05, 2020 9:00 PM
Add Tigers to the List of Animals That Can Get Coronavirus

Source: AP Photo/WCS, Julie Larsen Maher

The Wuhan coronavirus is believed to have originated from bats in a Chinese wet market in Wuhan, China. Many of the world's deadliest viruses came from animal-to-human transmission, so it's no surprise the coronavirus is infecting other animals as well. 

A tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York has tested positive for COVID-19. The 4-year-old female Malayan tiger is one of four tigers that have developed a dry cough in recent days but are expected to make a full recovery.

The zoo put out a statement, saying the cats were infected by an asymptomatic individual who had been caring for the tigers. 

"Appropriate preventive measures are now in place for all staff who are caring for them, and the other cats in our four WCS zoos, to prevent further exposure of any other of our zoo cats," the statement reads. 

None of the zoo's other cats are currently showing any signs of illness. 

A pet dog was infected with the coronavirus by its owner and subsequently died. It appeared the dog recovered from the illness but an autopsy of the animal's remains was never performed so the cause of death could not be determined. A second dog, a German shepherd, tested positive for the virus but exhibited no signs of illness. Two cats have also tested positive for the virus. 

The Ameican Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) says that despite reports of animals testing positive for the coronavirus, further research is needed to establish the likelihood of human-to-animal transmission of COVID-19. 

"Out of an abundance of caution, it is recommended that those ill with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus," the AVMA's website states. "When possible, have another member of your household take care of walking, feeding, and playing with your pet. If you have a service animal or you must care for your pet, don’t share food, kiss, or hug them, and wash your hands before and after any contact with them."