A study shows that people can transmit corona to their horses. The latest case is a woman from California who infected her two mares.
A woman from California suddenly had a fever, felt tired, had muscle pain and suffered from loss of smell. A rapid antigen test confirmed that she was Corona positive. A laboratory test confirmed that she had Delta variant disease.
The woman immediately became concerned about her two horses, an 8-year-old and a 21-year-old Quarter Horse mare. She spends at least two hours with them every day and was now worried that she might have infected her animals. That is why she informed Nicola Pusterla from the Department of Epidemiology at the University of California’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (Davis, USA).
Despite Corona: healthy horses
The horses were monitored daily by routine physical examination. In addition, blood, nasal secretions and faeces were collected weekly from the female for three weeks. The various samples were tested for coronavirus in a laboratory. Both Quarter Horses remained healthy during the three-week monitoring period, the researchers reported. Both Quarter Horses remained healthy during the three-week monitoring period, the researchers reported. But: In the younger mare, serum tests showed an antibody reaction to the virus seven days after the owner tested positive. Maximum antibody levels were reached 21 days after diagnosis.
In addition, blood samples were taken from the horse 60 days after diagnosis. Here, the antibody level was elevated until the last sample was taken. “Despite the low susceptibility of horses to SARS-CoV-2 and little evidence of natural infection, this present case report describes possible transmission from a Covid 19 patient to one of her two horses,” the researchers said.
Other domestic animals such as dogs and cats have shown little disease expression despite their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2. “Apparently, horses follow the same pattern after infection with SARS-CoV-2,” the researchers write.
In the current study, the SARS-CoV-2 virus could not be directly detected in either horse by appropriate tests. This was not surprising for the research team. Another study had already examined 667 horses suffering from fever and respiratory symptoms. The SARS-CoV-2 virus could not be detected by RT-qPCR in these horses either.
Nevertheless, circumstances point to direct human-to-animal transmission. “At this time, and based on the limited scientific data available, the overall risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 between humans with covid-19 and horses appears to be low,” they wrote.
However, they said it was important to further investigate the impact of possible spillover through longer studies. This means that horses should be examined at regular intervals once caretakers or horse owners have been diagnosed with corona. “It is imperative to determine the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to infect and establish in different species such as horses, especially with regard to possible animal-to-human transmission.”
And the researchers also say, “While there is no evidence of horse-to-horse transmission of SARS-CoV-2, current guidelines recommend that owners infected with SARS-CoV-2 should avoid all close contact with their animals, including horses.”