News broke in April that a Tiger at the Brooklyn Zoo had been confirmed positive for the coronavirus, the first animal in the U.S.
Since then, 66 more animals have been confirmed with the virus — and nearly a third of them have been in Texas, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Between April and September, 20 animals — 10 dogs and 10 cats — in Texas have been confirmed to have COVID-19, the agency said.
The first in the state was a 2-year-old dog in Tarrant County who tested positive on July 7, according to the Texas Animal Health Commission. The dog was tested as a precautionary measure after its owners contracted the coronavirus.
Confirmed cases are those that have been verified by the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories, the agency said. Additional animals of the same species that come down with COVID-19 in the same facility aren’t represented in the data.
Utah has the next highest incidence of COVID-19 in animals, with 15 testing positive, the majority of which were mink. Following is New York, which has 12 animals confirmed with the virus, most either cats or dogs, the agency said.
Two cats become first pets in the US to test positive for coronavirus, USDA says
From there, the numbers drop off significantly with Wisconsin logging three cases, Arizona, California, Georgia, Louisiana and North Carolina each reporting two and Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota and South Carolina each with one.
Most animals that contract COVID-19 have been in close contact with humans who’ve also tested positive for the virus, the USDA said.
The tiger at the Bronx Zoo is believed to have been infected by an asymptomatic person caring for the animal, McClatchy News previously reported. Three more tigers and three lions also developed symptoms.
Tiger at Bronx Zoo tests positive for coronavirus, and others have symptoms, zoo says
The mink in Utah — of which several died — lived on two farms where they were in contact with people infected with COVID-19, McClatchy reported.
Experts are still learning how the virus works but say the coronavirus can spread from people to animals after prolonged exposure to an infected person, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
However, “there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19,” the agency said.
It’s not known if all animals can be infected with the virus, according to the CDC.
To avoid spreading COVID-19 to pets, the CDC recommends that pet owners limit interaction with people that don’t live in their home. Cats should not roam outside and dogs should be kept on leashes and remain six feet from others, the agency said.
Avoid taking your pets to large gatherings, but do not put masks on animals — it could cause them harm, according to the CDC.