Cat is euthanised after becoming first in Spain to catch coronavirus: Pet is feared to have caught bug from owner ‘who later died from the disease’
- The four-year-old feline was taken to the vet with breathing difficulties
- He was suffering with heart disease so staff decided to put him to sleep
- His body was sent to researchers who discovered traces of coronavirus
- The cat is the sixth in the world known to have contracted the virus
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A cat who was euthanised in Spain was suffering from coronavirus at the time of its death, an autopsy has revealed.
It is believed he caught the disease from his Catalonian family who also had coronavirus – with his owner killed by the bug, according to local news outlet La Vanguardia.
The cat is the first in Spain to have caught the virus, and only the sixth worldwide.
The four-year-old feline had been rushed to a veterinary hospital after his family noticed he was having difficulty breathing.
The cat’s body was then sent to a research centre for analysis, where experts discovered traces of coronavirus in samples taken from his nose and digestive tract (file photo)
Staff discovered the cat had heart failure as well as a temperature of 38.2°C and low platelet levels, which meant his blood was not able to clot properly.
The cat, who already suffered from a genetic heart condition, was put to sleep after it was decided he was unlikely to recover.
The vet who euthanised the feline suspected he may have also been suffering from coronavirus so sent the body to a research centre for analysis.
Experts conducted a post-mortem and discovered traces of coronavirus in samples taken from his nose and digestive tract.
Professor Joaquim Segales, a researcher at the Centre for Research in Animal Health (CReSA), said: ‘He is a collateral victim of the disease in human’.
Although CReSa director Natàlia Majó said the chances of cat-to-cat transmission are ‘currently unknown’, a China study earlier this year ran blood tests on 102 cats in Wuhan.
Scientists at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute found that cats and ferrets were susceptible to catching the virus but that it was rarer in dogs. They said pigs, chickens and ducks were not susceptible at all.
The study concluded that ‘the virus transmits in cats via respiratory droplets’.
Majó said the most reasonable hypothesis for cats being able to catch coronavirus is because ‘the present receptors in cells for viruses’ in the same way as humans.
Segales added: ‘This virus is extremely effective in person-to-person transmission, but animal-to-person transmissions are still very exceptional situations.’
Neither the World Health Organisation nor the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has said pets can catch or transmit the disease from or to humans.
Last month it was revealed eight big cats at the Bronx Zoo in New York City had tested positive for coronavirus after experiencing breathing difficulties.