The British B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 has been identified for the first time in household pets. In a preprint study published in bioRxiv, veterinarians from a specialty veterinary clinic located in the southeast of England describe the first cases of B.1.1.7 infection among 8 cats and 3 dogs, all of which required veterinary visits due to new-onset symptoms, including lethargy, loss of appetite, rapid breathing, and severe cardiac abnormalities. All of the owners had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 prior to their pets developing symptoms. In another report, researchers from Texas A&M University, describe a cat and dog from the same household infected with the B.1.1.7 variant but showing no symptoms at the time of initial testing. Their owner was diagnosed with the B.1.1.7 variant only two days prior to the pets’ tests. The report notes both pets later developed symptoms, including sneezing, that resolved after one month. The researchers say these cases raise questions regarding the risk companion animals may play in the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly given the enhanced infectivity and transmissibility of the B.1.1.7 variant.
CSSE is reporting 30,150,662 positive cases in the U.S. and 548,048 deaths. DOH reported 2,033,179 confirmed cases in Florida on Friday, with 33,116 deaths.