Investigation of SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated lesions in exotic and companion animals. Academic Article uri icon


  • 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.

published proceedings

  • Vet Pathol

altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Rotstein, D. S., Peloquin, S., Proia, K., Hart, E., Lee, J., Vyhnal, K. K., ... Ghai, R.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

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

publication date

  • July 2022