COLLEGE STATION, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A Texas A&M research team says it has found evidence that pets living in “high-risk” households with people who have COVID-19 in Brazos County and the surrounding areas may also become infected with this virus.

Since beginning their sampling of cats and dogs whose owners consented to their participation, the team has identified two asymptomatic cats from different households in Brazos County that have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 while living in a household with a person who was diagnosed with COVID-19.

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A nasal swab sample is collected from Crocket, a study participant from Bryan, Texas. (credit: Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences)

Additional pets are being tested.

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“At the time we collected samples from these cats at their houses, the owners did not report any signs of disease in their pets during the course of their own illnesses, but one of the cats later developed several days of sneezing after we tested it,” College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences associate professor of epidemiology Dr. Sarah Hamer said.

The study was not designed to test whether pets become infected from owners, or vice versa, Hamer said, but the findings indicate that pets can become infected in high-risk households and should be considered in the way households are managed as part of the public health response.

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