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Cats may transmit COVID-19 to other cats, study suggests
The findings suggest cats may be capable of becoming infected with the virus when exposed to people or other cats with SARS-CoV-2.
Humans with coronavirus symptoms advised to avoid contact with cats. 

Cats can become infected with SARS-CoV-2 – the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic - and may be able to transmit the virus to other cats, according to new research.

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine administered SARS-CoV-2 to three cats. The next day, nasal swabs of the cats revealed the virus has taken hold in two of the animals. By the third day, all three cats were confirmed with the virus.

The day after researchers administered the virus to the first three cats, they placed another cat in each of their cages. The scientists did not administer SARS-CoV-2 to these cats.

Nasal and rectal swabs were taken from all six cats in the following days to assess them for the presence of the virus. Within two days, one of the previously uninfected cats was shedding the virus, and within six days, all of the cats were shedding the virus. None of the rectal swabs contained the virus.

Each cat shed SARS-CoV-2 from their nasal passages for up to six days. The virus was not lethal, and none of the cats showed signs of the illness. All of the cats ultimately cleared the virus.

“That was a major finding for us — the cats did not have symptoms,” says lead author Yoshihiro Kawaoka, who is also helping lead an effort to create a human COVID-19 vaccine called CoroFlu.

Researchers say their findings suggest that cats may be capable of becoming infected with the virus when exposed to people or other cats positive for SARS-CoV-2. It follows a study published in Science by scientists at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences that also showed cats and ferrets could become infected with, and potentially transmit the virus.

“It’s something for people to keep in mind,” says Peter Halfmann, a research professor at UW–Madison who helped lead the study. “If they are quarantined in their house and are worried about passing COVID-19 to children and spouses, they should also worry about giving it to their animals.”

Both researchers advise that people with symptoms of COVID-19 avoid contact with cats. They also advise cat owners to keep their pets indoors to limit the contact their cats have with other people and animals.

The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine

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Do you know a practice wellbeing star?

News Story 1
 Has someone in your practice team gone above and beyond to make your workplace a positive one during the coronavirus pandemic? Then why not nominate them for a 2020 Practice Wellbeing Star!

The joint RCVS Mind Matters Initiative/SPVS Practice Wellbeing Star nominations recognise individuals who have held up morale during a time when practices are facing unprecedented staffing and financial issues.

Nominees receive a certificate in recognition of their colleagues' appreciation of their achievements and will be entered into the prize draw for a pair of tickets to attend the joint SPVS and Veterinary Management Group Congress in January 2021.


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WellVet reopens ticket sales to online conference platform

Following the success of its online conference, the organisers behind WellVet Weekend have re-opened ticket sales to allow new delegates to access session recordings and its online networking platform.

The day-long conference saw more than 360 veterinary professionals mix activity sessions with personal development CPD, all hosted within a virtual conference platform. Now, with more than 500 minutes of CPD available, the resource is being re-opened to allow full access to the session recordings until May 2021.

Sessions are aimed at providing delegates with a range of proactive wellbeing tools to explore to find ways of improving their mental and physical health. Tickets are limited in number and on sale at until 30th August 2020.