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Lions, tigers recovering after COVID infection at Washington’s National Zoo By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – A male Sumatran Tiger cub Bandar climbs out from a Smithsonian National Zoo moat during a swim trial for the animal on November 6. 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

By Julio-Cesar Chavez

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Big cats at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington are on the mend after all of them caught the coronavirus last week.

On Friday, the Zoo’s chief veterinarian said that the COVID-19 virus was probably passed on to the large cat population by an unasymptomatic zookeeper.

According to Dr. Donald Neiffer, the chief veterinarian at the Zoo noticed that big cat populations were suffering from COVID-19. The tigers and lions were not moving well and were not eating properly.

Chief veterinarian Dr. Donald Neiffer stated that “it came on a little too insidious.” I believe we had one cat last Thursday who seemed a bit intractable… however, it’s nothing that forces us to rush.

He said that within 48 hours, other cats began to show signs such as lethargy and dry coughs. The situation became very interesting and we began to implement other biosecurity precautions.

They are starting to feel better and will soon be able to go back to normal after being tested and given COVID-19 treatment for their symptoms.

We are witnessing a general trend that is moving up. Their behavior is indicating that they are more active and eating healthier. They are coughing less and have less drainage. Neiffer stated that he would like to see a significant improvement in the health of these men by Monday next week.

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