Heart inflammation linked to COVID-19 infection in cats and dogs

An increased number of cats and dogs were diagnosed with myocarditis, or heart inflammation, in the U.K. due to a coronavirus infection, according to a veterinary report. 

The condition, which has been reported in humans following the onset of a coronavirus infection, was seen in cats and dogs in the U.K., according to a report from veterinary cardiologist Luca Ferasin in the journal Veterinary Record

According to Ferasin, myocarditis in his furry patients rose from 1.5 percent of pets referred to him to 12.5 percent of pets referred to the vet clinic, NBC News reported.  

Ferasin also tested the animals for COVID-19 and found that of 11 that were tested, two cats and one dog tested positive for the alpha variant of COVID-19, according to NBC.

However, an additional dog and two additional cats also tested positive for antibodies from the virus. And though none of the animals Ferasin examined displayed coronavirus symptoms, they all had myocarditis.

“These were dogs and cats that were depressed, lethargic, they lost appetite,” said Ferasin told NBC, adding, “And they had either difficulty breathing because of accumulation of fluid in their lungs due to the heart disease, or they were fainting because of an underlying abnormal heart rhythm.”

NBC states that Ferasin and his associates later discovered that many of the pets’ owners had tested positive for COVID-19 or had symptoms of the virus a few weeks prior to bringing their pets in for a checkup. 

All of Ferasin’s patients recovered after supportive treatment, aside from one cat whose symptoms persisted and was eventually put down.

Ferasin advised owners who have COVID-19 to avoid contact with their pets as they do other household members.

Tags #covid19 CATS Dogs as pets Veterinary medicine veterinary research

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