Sabrina, a 21-year-old Sumatran/Bengal tiger living at the Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone has tested positive for COVID-19.

The big cat was being treated for a respiratory infection when the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories tested the animal for SARS-CoV-2 at a private lab with the results confirmed by the USDA.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health says that Sabrina is only the second confirmed captive or domestic animal case of SARS-CoV-2 in the state of Minnesota. State Veterinarian, Dr. Beth Thompson says, "It’s a good reminder that the virus can be transmitted from people to animals. We appreciate the veterinarians in the state who contact our office to discuss testing and surveillance of exposed and symptomatic animals, so we can investigate with our state and federal partners."

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There have been reports from around the country of animals at zoos getting the virus, including some gorillas that were recently discovered to have COVID-19 at the San Diego zoo, those gorillas are recovering and will get the vaccine.

The Wildcat Sanctuary says that despite stringent precautions with the use of face masks, extra sanitizing and distancing protocols they believe that the tiger may have gotten the virus from an asymptomatic caretaker.

In a statement on Facebook The Wildcat Sanctuary says that, "We hope what we’ve learned about this virus will add valuable knowledge to the global understanding of how it affects big cats, and the information will help other facilities recognize these symptoms in their cats and provide supportive care."

Back in June, a house cat in Carver County was the first domestic animal to test positive for SARS-CoV-2. If you want to learn more about the virus and animals you can visit the CDC here.

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