Picture of vet taking throat swab from domestic cat for Covid-19 test

This photograph shows a veterinarian and assistant taking a throat swab (oropharyngeal swab) at a clinic in Cairo, Egypt from a domestic cat because it is a requirement for travel. The photograph is by Maya Alleruzzo and circulated by the agency AP. Testing, in fact, requires more than one swab. It requires swabs from the nose, the mouth, and the conjunctiva of the eyes. It also requires fecal testing I am told (Veterinary Specialist Dr. Melissa Salgado). Testing is not recommended in the USA because it is more invasive than for people.

Picture of a throat swab taken by 2 veterinary staff at a Cairo clinic to test for Covid-19 as it a requirement for travel. Photo: Maya Alleruzzo.

I think the picture is very relevant at the moment as there is a lot of talk about 2 cats in the US getting Covid-19 and the experts believe that they contracted the virus from either their owner or someone in the neighbourhood or perhaps a family member. We don’t know but what they seem sure about it that the cats got it from humans. That’s the direction of travel of the virus in this istance. It is currently believed that domestic cats and dogs don’t transmit it to humans.

At the moment all is calm on this matter and it may – and I hope it does – stay that way. There is no need to do anything differently. However, I think we should keep in the back of our minds the possibility that if there is a second or third spike of infections that we may have to restrict contact between humans and companion animals which would be almost impossible if not truly impossible to carry out and enforce. It is a wait and see situation.

The Bronx tigers and lions also got the disease from humans so there appears to be good evidence that this form of transmission can happen. All the infected cat showed mild symtoms especially the domestic cats and they are expected to fully recover. It is a question of whether governments start to factor in companion animal infections such as testing pets. There is certainly no need to panic or any way change one’s companion animal caretaking duties at this stage.

P.S. The assistant is holding the cat very tightly. The cat is an all-grey cat. Both men are very focused. It may be difficult to take this swab as it appears to be taken from the back of the throat which will be uncomfortable for the cat who might wriggle free. Hence the firm grip.


Why are there many more women veterinarians nowadays?

Back in the 1960s 98% of veterinarians were men. Nowadays, in the USA, it is said that the current ratio ...
Read More

Why are vets called doctor?

"Dr" is a courtesy and convenient title for veterinarians ...
Read More

Veterinarians involved in TNR under attack within their own profession?

Dr John Bradshaw in his book Cat Sense writes that some veterinary surgeons who are involved in managing the welfare ...
Read More

Cat and dog owners using coronavirus as a reason to put off going to their veterinarian

I fear that what is happening to sick people is happening to sick pets in equal numbers, but it is ...
Read More

President of British Veterinary Association advises incorrectly a second time on coronavirus

The President of the British Veterinary Association, Daniella Dos Santos, initially advised that domestic cats should be kept indoors in ...
Read More

Is it right that veterinarians are cheaper than doctors?

I was reading an article by Siamic on my website entitled: Benefits of Dental Radiography for Relieving Pain in Cats ...
Read More

Coronavirus may benefit companion animals and owners by encouraging remote diagnosis

In the USA, and I expect elsewhere to a lesser extent, veterinary telemedicine is being strongly encouraged by the inability ...
Read More

Coronavirus pandemic: Are veterinarians ‘key workers’ and are their businesses ‘essential’?

In the UK it is not clear that veterinarians working in companion animal practice can be considered 'key workers' (as ...
Read More
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

Recent Posts

Birdfeeder placement to help avoid attack by cats

I can think of two instances (but there are many more) of exposing, through good…

3 hours ago

My neighbour’s cat asks to be let in all the time, so is he neglected?

It is not uncommon for neighbourhood cats to want to visit neighbour's homes. You won't…

8 hours ago

Radon gas increases the chance of your cat getting lung cancer

Background Radon gas is a mysterious substance which appears to be all around us, all…

9 hours ago

12 facts about the Nebelung cat

Here are 12 listed facts about the Nebelung cat. I hope you find them useful.…

22 hours ago

21 reasons to take your cat to the vet

Here is a list of reasons to take your cat to the vet. Richard H.…

1 day ago

Panicking man, giggling woman and complacent cats fail to catch a terrified mouse

I can understand the minor chaos caused by a mouse brought into the home by…

1 day ago