Nadia, the tigress who tested positive for the novel corona virus in New York, and six other big cats who developed a dry cough at the Bronx Zoo, seemed on the mend after a dose of medication and tenderness on Monday.
"A little TLC from the zookeepers who take care of them, some anti-inflammatory drugs," Paul Calle, chief veterinarian of the Bronx Zoo of the Wildlife Conservation Society, told Reuters of the regime that helped them improve on a daily basis.
Some of the four tigers and three lions were given antibiotics. Everyone had a "mild" illness and was expected to recover fully, he said.
This includes Nadia, a 4-year-old Malayan tiger who stopped eating and the only one who was tested because the zoo didn't want to anesthetize all cats, Calle said. Nose and throat swabs and tracheal fluid from her lungs were sent to Cornell University and University of Illinois veterinary schools that conducted COVID animal testing that said the nationwide scarce resources required for human testing were not used.
"There is no competition between human and animal tests," said Calle.
Calle told reporters on Sunday that Nadia was the first known case in which a person infected an animal and made it sick with COVID-19.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is believed to have spread from animals to humans, and a handful of animals tested positive in Hong Kong.
But officials believe this is a unique case because Nadia got sick after being exposed to an asymptomatic zoo employee. Calle said the zoo didn't know which employee infected the tiger.
"There were some test results in dogs and cats, but they were either healthy or it was not clear that COVID was the cause of the disease," said Calle.
The first tiger in the zoo, which has been closed since mid-March, showed signs of disease on March 27, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratories, who conducted the test.