A tiger held at the Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, Minnesota, has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the coronavirus, according to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (BAH).
A press release from the BAH said that the sanctuary’s staff first noticed lions, tigers, and cougars displaying symptoms in early January. Shortly after, the veterinarian consulted with state animal health officials about testing for SARS-CoV-2 at a private laboratory before results were officially confirmed by the USDA.
“This marks only the second confirmed captive or domestic animal case of SARS-CoV-2 in the state,” said State Veterinarian, Dr. Beth Thompson. “It’s a good reminder that the virus can be transmitted from people to animals. We appreciate the veterinarians in the state who contact our office to discuss testing and surveillance of exposed and symptomatic animals so we can investigate with our state and federal partners.”
Caregivers and staff at The Wildcat Sanctuary have maintained strict COVID-19 protocols since the onset of the pandemic, and the sanctuary is not open to the public.
Wildcat Sanctuary Executive DirectorTammy Thies said, “Though some of the animals experienced a decrease in appetite and intermittent wheezing, they are all bright, alert and responsive under close veterinary care. None of the cats are showing symptoms at this time and all are expected to fully recover,” said Tammy Thies, The Wildcat Sanctuary Executive Director.
The 21-year-old Sumatran/Bengal tiger was reportedly given supportive care by the sanctuary veterinarian and has fully recovered.