Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, also known as Coronavirus Infectious Disease-19, or COVID-19, was first discovered in Wuhan, China in late 2019, spreading and causing a global pandemic that is still ongoing. Early reporting emphasized human infection and transmission, but as COVID has been studied further, we now know that SARS-CoV-2 can infect multiple animals, including cats and dogs. Animal testing is similar to that for humans and now is more readily available to owners and veterinarians. Testing animals that we suspect may have infection will help us understand the threat this virus poses to our animals.
The EDART laboratory of Maureen Long is currently offering antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2. The test we use is a commercially available test that is a ‘surrogate’ Neutralization test. This assay has been validated in the literature as well as here at the CVM using defined positive and negative serum.
This is a multi-species test and any species can be tested using this test.
Antibody responses are highly variable in animals infected with SARS-CoV-2. Most species develop antibody within 7 days to 3 weeks after testing positive. However, antibody can wane rapidly.
PCR testing is currently performed by Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. PCR testing currently exposed, clinically affected animals is recommended. Shedding is very short in some species, thus follow up antibody testing has been quite useful in highly suspect cases.
Testing for SARS-CoV-2 is now widely available without prior input from the Florida Department of Health or the National Veterinary Services Laboratory. Although SARS-CoV-2 in animals is reportable, generally reporting is confined to detection of virus by PCR. The laboratory usually does not report seropositive animals to FDACS unless testing is directly requested by the state.