Idexx tested thousands of pets for coronavirus. None have come back positive.

As fears about COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — continue to mount, there’s something that can be a source of comfort rather than concern: our pets.In mid-February, Idexx Laboratories, an American multinational corporation and global leader in veterinary diagnostics, started testing samples from dogs, cats and horses for the coronavirus strain responsible for COVID-19. Veterinarians submitted more than 3,500 specimens from dogs, cats and horses in South Korea and all 50 U.S. states, including areas experiencing human COVID-19 cases like Seattle.

To date, zero have tested positive.

“Our results aligned with the current expert understanding that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted person to person and that pets aren’t likely to contract the disease and probably have a low likelihood of spreading the disease,” Dr. Jim Blacka, a veterinarian and senior director at Idexx, told TODAY.
Idexx Labratories tested over 3,500 cats, dogs and horses for coronavirus between Feb. 14 and March 12. Zero tested positive.Courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society
He said Idexx was able to quickly develop and validate its testing because of its large team developing technologies to screen for infectious diseases. Additionally, veterinarians were already submitting samples to test for other health issues.

laidback pet breeds

Download the TODAY app for the latest coverage on the coronavirus outbreak.

“As a leading diagnostic company, we felt we had a responsibility to veterinarians and the pet-owning community to better understand the animal health implications of this novel coronavirus,” he said. “Screening for infectious disease is core to what we do.”

Blacka said Idexx will continue testing and collaborating with health authorities and animal hospitals. “At Idexx we believe veterinary hospitals play an important role in animal and public health. As such, we view veterinary practices as an essential service for our community. We’re proud to partner with veterinarians and we’ll continue to monitor COVID-19 and pet health across our global Idexx reference network.”