SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies in dogs and cats in the United Kingdom

Curr Res Virol Sci. 2021;2:100011. doi: 10.1016/j.crviro.2021.100011. Epub 2021 Aug 5.

Abstract

Companion animals are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and sporadic cases of pet infections have occurred in the United Kingdom. Here we present the first large-scale serological survey of SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies in dogs and cats in the UK. Results are reported for 688 sera (454 canine, 234 feline) collected by a large veterinary diagnostic laboratory for routine haematology during three time periods; pre-COVID-19 (January 2020), during the first wave of UK human infections (April-May 2020) and during the second wave of UK human infections (September 2020-February 2021). Both pre-COVID-19 sera and those from the first wave tested negative. However, in sera collected during the second wave, 1.4% (n ​= ​4) of dogs and 2.2% (n ​= ​2) of cats tested positive for neutralising antibodies. The low numbers of animals testing positive suggests pet animals are unlikely to be a major reservoir for human infection in the UK. However, continued surveillance of in-contact susceptible animals should be performed as part of ongoing population health surveillance initiatives.

Keywords: Animal disease surveillance; Cats; Dogs; SARS-CoV-2; Serology.