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.
© 2021 British Veterinary Association.