UTICA, N.Y. --- After a tiger tested positive for the Coronavirus at the Bronx Zoo, Zookeepers locally at the Utica Zoo are taking extra precautions to keep the animals healthy.
The tiger got the Coronavirus from a zookeeper who ended up testing positive.
Utica Zoo Executive Director Andria Heath said she was surprised when she heard the news about the tiger.
"We were surprised as everyone to hear about the tiger in the Bronx zoo. But we are continuing to practice safe veterinary practices and all of our zookeepers are wearing masks and gloves when around the animals," said Heath.
Zookeepers have been wearing protective equipment when interacting with the animals. When feeding the lions, zookeepers normally keep their distance. But now they leave even more room between them and the animal to avoid possible exposure.
In terms of your pets at home, the CDC reports that no pets have tested positive for COVID-19 as of yet in the U.S. But veterinarian Dr. David Nickel of Whitesboro tells NEWSChannel 2 we can still give the virus to them.
"The recommendation of the CDC is that if someone does test positive for COVID-19 to have someone else take care of their cats and dogs," said Nickel.
The common symptoms to look out for particularly in cats is coughing and sneezing. Similar symptoms we humans look out for. But Dr. Nickel said like humans we can cough or sneeze for a number of different reasons. So he's urging pet owners not to panic if a pet begins showing symptoms.
"The problems with the symptoms of the COVID virus are nonspecific symptoms like coughing sneezing. Cats get many respiratory symptoms that are unique to the cat. They can get a Rhino Tracheal virus that causes coughing and sneezing or they could get a calicivirus that causes coughing and sneezing. So I would caution people if their pet is coughing and sneezing, its unlikely to be the coronavirus," said Nickel.
Vets ask if you have any questions about possible symptoms, to give them a call.
The CDC's full report on pets and COVID-19 can be found here.