Are animals that are in close contact with humans (dogs, cats, ducks, ferrets, pigs, and chickens) susceptible to infection with COVID-19?

Bottom Line:

The COVID-19 virus replicates poorly in dogs, pigs, chickens, and ducks, but ferrets and cats are permissive to infection.


Shi, J. et al. Susceptibility of ferrets, cats, dogs, and other domesticated animals to SARS–coronavirus 2. Science (2020). DOI: 10.1126/science.abb7015

Date Published:

8 April 2020


In this study, various species of animals that could be in close contact with humans were intranasally incoulated with the COVID-19 virus. The aim of this study was to investigate whether animals could become reservoirs of the virus and how the virus behaves in these animals. Their results indicated that the virus can replicate in the upper respiratory tract of ferrets for 8 days without causing any symptoms and it did cause symptoms in two of the ferrets on days 10 and 12 after inoculation. They also showed that the virus can replicate efficiently in cats, with younger cats being more permissive and that the virus can transmit between cats via the airborne route. They showed that dogs have low susceptibility to the virus and livestock including pigs, chickens, and ducks are not susceptible to the virus. This study shows the potential role of monitoring animals for successful control of COVID-19 transmission to humans.

Summary by: Ghazal Haddad