Covid 19 Ultrastructural Morphology Cdc Alissa Eckert Ms Dan Higgins Mam Low Res
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. In this view, the protein particles E, S, and M, also located on the outer surface of the particle, have all been labeled as well. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Photo credit: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM

MSU VDL Testing Capabilities for SARS-CoV-2 in Animals

May 6, 2020 - To provide support to human and animal health agencies in the State of Michigan, the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory can test animals for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). This test is not currently available to veterinarians or the general public for routine testing.

For guidance on when testing is appropriate, please see Evaluation for SARS-CoV-2 Testing in Animals from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the AVMA guidance on testing animals for SARS-CoV-2, and the FAQ on Animal Coronavirus Testing from the United States Department of Agriculture.

Please contact your state veterinarian to obtain approval and for required information for testing. For Michigan animals, please call the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at 800-292-3939. Positive test results will be reported after confirmation by the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory. Any detection of SARS-CoV-2 in an animal must be reported to the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health).

Resources for Additional Information

FAQ on Companion Animal Coronavirus Testing (USDA) Confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in Animals in the United States (USDA) Information for the Michigan State University Community

Updates from the MSU VDL

Current Status of MSU VDL Operations

Update, April 22, 2020:

While this is still an evolving situation, the US Department of Agriculture and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the American Veterinary Medical Association and American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, do not recommend routine testing of animals for SARS-CoV-2. State animal health and public health officials may initiate testing in certain cases out of an abundance of caution. Any animals in the United States confirmed positive will be added to the USDA website.

Please see the CDC, USDA, and AVMA websites for more information about testing. Please note that testing of animals does not reduce the capacity for human testing.

Update, April 13, 2020:

On Friday, April 10, 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a letter to stakeholders, Do Not Use Ivermectin Intended for Animals as Treatment for COVID-19 in Humans. "FDA is concerned about the health of consumers who may self-medicate by taking ivermectin products intended for animals, thinking they can be a substitute for ivermectin intended for humans. People should never take animal drugs, as the FDA has only evaluated their safety and effectiveness in the particular animal species for which they are labeled. These animal drugs can cause serious harm in people." Please read the letter for complete details.

Update, March 4, 2020:

We are monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation and at this time are not testing animals for COVID-19. Please see the links to the resources listed here to learn more. Those pages are updated as more information is available.

Update, February 12, 2020:

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has issued an advisory document, The New Coronavirus and Companion Animals - Advice for WSAVA Members. (Note: advisory updated March 16, 2020.)

In a press release dated February 11, 2020, Dr. Michael Lappin, chair of the WSAVA’s One Health Committee, recommends that veterinarians tell owners to:

  • keep their companion animals with them if they are self-quarantined
  • keep cats inside
  • arrange care for any animals left at home if family or friends are hospitalised
  • contact their veterinarian immediately if they have questions or concerns.

The WSAVA’s Scientific Committee and One Health Committee have worked together to produce the advisory document, which confirms that there is currently no evidence that pets or other domestic animals can be infected with 2019 n-CoV or that they may be a source of infection to people. They do warn, though, that it is a ‘rapidly evolving situation’.

January 24, 2020:

The emergence of what is being called 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has the world on alert. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that include a common cold variant, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). Coronaviruses are common in several species of domestic and wild animals including cattle, horses, dogs, cats, ferrets, camels, bats, and others. Although not common, coronaviruses can be transmitted from animals to humans. This has been the case with both SARS and MERS. The viruses causing those diseases are thought to have originated in bats and transmitted to humans through intermediate hosts, the masked palm civet (SARS) and dromedary camels (MERS).

Currently, 2019-nCoV is also thought to have originated in animals; early cases were likely transmitted to humans through contact with animals or animal products at a market where both live animals and processed meats were sold.

However, human-to-human transmission is now responsible for more rapid spread of the virus, making this a human health concern.

2019 N Cov Pet Graphic

Page last updated: May 28, 2020