A cat looking out the window

The New Coronavirus Variant Could Seriously Affect Your Pet

The British variant could affect dogs and cats with severe ailments such as myocarditis

A new and worrying study has recently come to light regarding pets (dogs and cats) and the British variant of COVID-19. In this study, it is explained how coronavirus could affect pets and it especially refers to cases of heart disease suffered by some dogs and cats infected with COVID.

The pets that had this type of cardiac problems suffered from myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the cardiac tissue that, if the disease worsens, can lead to heart failure. So far, there's no evidence that the variant from the United Kingdom is more dangerous than the original one, although some veterinarians have already  raised the alarm that both dogs and cats can suffer very serious consequences if they catch the virus.

“We don’t want to spread panic unnecessarily”

Luca Ferasin, a cardiologist at the Ralph Veterinary Referral Center, lead author of the research, assures that “We don’t want to spread panic unnecessarily. [...] But vets ought to be aware of this so that they can start testing if they suspect a potential case of COVID infection,” warns the scientist in the British newspaper The Guardian.

It should be noted that the study in the Science magazine exposes that there are up to two reports that point out how pets can be infected with the English variant, more lethal and transmissible than the original virus.

It is necessary to remember that it was in Kent (United Kingdom), where the presence of the new variant was registered and it was there where the pets began to be infected, which have suffered from myocarditis, a cardiac problem that was also present in humans.

“It’s an interesting hypothesis, but there’s no evidence that the virus is causing these problems”

As noted above,  it cannot be verified at this time that the British variant is more transmissible.“It’s an interesting hypothesis, but there’s no evidence that the virus is causing these problems,” says Scott Weese, a veterinarian at the University of Guelph Ontario Veterinary College who is an expert in emerging infectious diseases.

The research published in the Science magazine was carried out by Luca Ferasin, a cardiologist at the Ralph Veterinary Referral Center (RVRC) in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. In turn, the results of the study were published just a few days ago, and more specifically on March 18, 2021, on the website BioRxiv.

Speaking in more detail about what was experienced during the research, they reveal how the veterinarians of the Cardiology Department of the Ralph Veterinary Referral Center (Buckinghamshire) noticed an unexpected rise in cases of myocarditis in dogs and cats between December 2020 and February this year in their London clinic. The appearance of this cardiac ailment, marked by inflammation of the heart muscle, rose in pets from 1.4% to 12.8%.

Main symptoms of COVID in pets

The most common symptoms presented by cats or dogs infected by the virus are respiratory in most cases, such as coughing, runny nose, sneezing or conjunctivitis. However, we now know that those infected with the British variant present heart failure in pets.

With this serious outlook ahead, some veterinarians who have carried out the research have requested that animals with these kinds of symptoms be tested for COVID, especially if their owners have had it already. So far, only three cases of the English variant have been reported in pets: a cat and a dog in Texas and another cat in Italy.

[This is a translation of the original article "La nueva variante del coronavirus podría traer complicaciones en tu mascota" published in espanadiario.net]