Understanding of COVID-19 and its effects on animal and human health is evolving rapidly. Leading health authorities and IDEXX veterinarians agree transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is primarily person to person and advise against testing asymptomatic pets.
IDEXX Laboratories Inc. announced today it would provide veterinarians with IDEXX SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR™ Test for pets given growing evidence that in rare cases pets living with COVID-19 positive humans can be at risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The test will be available to veterinarians in North America this week and will continue to roll out across most of the world in the coming weeks, enabled by IDEXX Reference Laboratories, the company’s worldwide network of more than 80 laboratories.
“We have continued to monitor the rapidly evolving public health crisis worldwide, paying special attention to the effects on pets,” said Jay Mazelsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of IDEXX Laboratories. “While there is currently no evidence that dogs or cats play a role in transmitting the disease to humans, it became clear offering the test was the right thing to do when we saw clinical evidence that pets—especially cats and ferrets—can in rare cases be at risk for infection. And, we heard from our customers around the globe that veterinarians needed a testing option.”
IDEXX’s guidance, aligned with that of medical experts, is that veterinarians order the IDEXX SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR™ Test after consultation with a public health authority (for example, a state public health veterinarian in the United States) and three specific criteria are met:
- Pet is living in a household with a human who has COVID-19 or has tested positive for the virus
- Pet has already been tested for more common infections, that a veterinarian has ruled out
- Pet (especially cats and ferrets) is showing clinical signs consistent with COVID-19
IDEXX does not expect this veterinary test to have an impact on human COVID-19 testing or availability.
Since mid-February, IDEXX Reference Laboratories has tested over 5,000 specimens for the COVID-19 virus, from cats, dogs, and horses with respiratory symptoms in 17 countries. To date, IDEXX has found no positive results. This suggests dogs and cats living with infected people generally remain uninfected, except in rare and isolated cases. For more in-depth information, read the IDEXX coronavirus diagnostic update.
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- Coronavirus Can Infect Cats — Dogs, Not So Much Nature
- Should Pets Be Tested for Coronavirus? Science