Infection with SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 detected in a group of dogs and cats with suspected myocarditis

Vet Rec. 2021 Nov;189(9):e944. doi: 10.1002/vetr.944. Epub 2021 Nov 4.


Background: Domestic pets can contract severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection; however, it is unknown whether the UK B.1.1.7 variant can more easily infect certain animal species or increase the possibility of human-to-animal transmission.

Methods: This is a descriptive case series reporting SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 variant infections in a group of dogs and cats with suspected myocarditis.

Results: The study describes the infection of domestic cats and dogs by the B.1.1.7 variant. Two cats and one dog were positive to SARS-CoV-2 PCR on rectal swab, and two cats and one dog were found to have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies 2-6 weeks after they developed signs of cardiac disease. Many owners of these pets had developed respiratory symptoms 3-6 weeks before their pets became ill and had also tested positive for COVID-19. Interestingly, all these pets were referred for acute onset of cardiac disease, including severe myocardial disorders of suspected inflammatory origin but without primary respiratory signs.

Conclusions: These findings demonstrate, for the first time, the ability for pets to be infected by the B.1.1.7 variant and question its possible pathogenicity in these animals.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COVID-19* / veterinary
  • Cat Diseases*
  • Cats
  • Dog Diseases*
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Myocarditis* / veterinary
  • SARS-CoV-2