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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania has confirmed its first COVID-19 positive cat.
The 16-year-old cat lived in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, in a home “with multiple people previously diagnosed with COVID-19,” the Pennsylvania Department of Health said Tuesday.
Health officials said the cat had a mild respiratory illness in early October.
“Unfortunately, the cat was humanly put to sleep as a result of shortness of breath,” said the health department.
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Officials said the case is still under investigation and a major cause of death has not yet been confirmed.
The cat is one of the few COVID-19 positive pets from across the country to have died or been euthanized during an infection, according to official reports.
“All infected pets have had prolonged exposure to COVID-19 people and so far none appear to have died from COVID-19,” the health department said. “Instead, other serious underlying diseases can be traced back to the cause of death.”
“With Pennsylvanians spending more time at home during the pandemic, our pets have undoubtedly received extra love and attention,” said state veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brightbill. “If you or a loved one is diagnosed with COVID-19, take steps to keep your pet healthy just like you would with your family.”
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To protect pets, health officials said households with COVID-19 positive people should adhere to the following guidelines:
- Avoid contact with pets and other animals like you would with other people.
- Have another member of the household look after your pet while you or your family members are isolated.
- Avoid contact such as petting, holding, cuddling, face contact, and sleeping in the same bed.
- Wear a mask and wash your hands before feeding or grooming your pet if you can’t find alternative care for them.
Symptoms of COVID-19 in pets include fever, cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, lethargy, sneezing, nose or eye discharge, vomiting, or diarrhea. If your pet shows symptoms after contact with someone positive for COVID-19, contact your private veterinarian.
Currently, according to health officials, there is no evidence that animals play an important role in the spread of COVID-19 to humans.
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