Covid tests

Covid tests – big cats’ samples sent for

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Covid tests – The samples of the two big cats that died in the district have been sent for Covid-19 testing. The samples that were taken from the deceased lion at the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary and that of the deceased tiger from the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo were sent to National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal, on Thursday from the State Institute of Animal Diseases (SIAD).

The nasal swab and oropharyngeal swabs of the tiger and lion were sent for testing. The tiger Kiran and lion Nagaraj died on Monday and Tuesday respectively. The preliminary analysis during the postmortem of tiger Kiran showed signs of upper respiratory infection and lung consolidation. The samples were sent for Covid tests in the light of the Covid scenario.

“We observed upper respiratory tract exudation, lung consolidation and enteritis in the tiger. In Covid- affected cats, respiratory signs are predominant and enteritis is also a feature,” said Dr S Nandakumar, disease investigation officer and pathologist, Centre for Wildlife Sciences, SIAD. “The lion autopsy also showed some signs of respiratory illness which can be suggestive but not confirmatory unless and until diagnosed,” he added. 

The aerosol spread among wild cats in huge outdoor enclosures is unlikely since there’s only little chance of contact transmission, the doctor added. “There is also no known evidence of the disease spreading from animals to man till date,” he added. Zoo superintendent T V Anil Kumar said:  “The tiger has been unwell for a week and was on IV therapy during the last few days. It was not eating in the last one week.” At present, there are two lions and four tigers in the zoo.