The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo in New York, USA reported aresident four-year old female Malayan tiger that has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 after being presented with cough and decreased appetite. The positiveSARS-CoV-2 test for the tiger was confirmed by the United States Department ofAgriculture (USDA’s) National Veterinary Services Laboratory. The likelysource of infection was a person caring for them who was asymptomaticallyinfected with the virus. Although three other tigers and three African lionsalso had a dry cough, only one tiger was tested because of the risk associatedwith collecting samples under anesthesia. Though they have experienced somedecrease in appetite, the tigers and lions are otherwise doing well underveterinary care and are bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers. Thefour affected tigers live with one Amur tiger that has not exhibited anyclinical signs. Three other tigers from the same zoo, as well as snowleopards, cheetahs,clouded leopard, Amur leopard, puma or serval are notpresenting any signs of illness.
Assuming the other three lions and tigers with signs were ill due to SARS-CoV-2, this may support the findings of a domestic cat experimental study wecommented on in our e-shot of April 3. In this study, some cats inoculatedwith a high dose ofSARX-CoV-2 developed clinical signs of disease and somewere able to pass the virus to other animals housed in close proximity.
Further studies will be required to determine whether exotic cats are more
susceptible to the SARS-CoV-2 virus than domestic cats.
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