Investigation of SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated lesions in exotic and companion animals

David S. Rotstein, Sarah Peloquin, Kathleen Proia, Ellen Hart, Jeongha Lee, Kristin K. Vyhnal, Emi Sasaki, Gayathriy Balamayooran, Javier Asin, Teresa Southard, Laura Rothfeldt, Heather Venkat, Peter Mundschenk, Darby McDermott, Beate Crossley, Pamela Ferro, Gabriel Gomez, Eileen H. Henderson, Paul Narayan, Daniel B. PaulsenSteven Rekant, Megan E. Schroeder, Rachel M. Tell, Mia Kim Torchetti, Francisco A. Uzal, Ann Carpenter, Ria Ghai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Documented natural infections with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in exotic and companion animals following human exposures are uncommon. Those documented in animals are typically mild and self-limiting, and infected animals have only infrequently died or been euthanized. Through a coordinated One Health initiative, necropsies were conducted on 5 animals from different premises that were exposed to humans with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. The combination of epidemiologic evidence of exposure and confirmatory real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction testing confirmed infection in 3 cats and a tiger. A dog was a suspect case based on epidemiologic evidence of exposure but tested negative for SARS-CoV-2. Four animals had respiratory clinical signs that developed 2 to 12 days after exposure. The dog had bronchointerstitial pneumonia and the tiger had bronchopneumonia; both had syncytial-like cells with no detection of SARS-CoV-2. Individual findings in the 3 cats included metastatic mammary carcinoma, congenital renal disease, and myocardial disease. Based on the necropsy findings and a standardized algorithm, SARS-CoV-2 infection was not considered the cause of death in any of the cases. Continued surveillance and necropsy examination of animals with fatal outcomes will further our understanding of natural SARS-CoV-2 infection in animals and the potential role of the virus in development of lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalVeterinary pathology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • bronchopneumonia
  • cats
  • COVID-19
  • dogs
  • respiratory
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
  • syncytial cell
  • tiger
  • viral
  • zoonosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Investigation of SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated lesions in exotic and companion animals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this