Criteria for Animal SARS-CoV-2 Testing
The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) is dedicated to protecting both animal and human health through diagnostics. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, TVMDL is working with the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), to provide current and credible resources to those in veterinary medicine.
Currently animal SARS-CoV-2 testing will only be performed with approval of the Department of State Health Services’ (DSHS) State Public Health Veterinarian and the TAHC State Veterinarian. If you are a veterinarian who would like to request approval to test a pet for SARS-CoV-2, please call 800-550-8242.
This testing approval will be determined on an individual case basis. Only animals exhibiting clinical signs of illness compatible with SARS-CoV-2 infection, including respiratory symptoms, will be considered for testing. Veterinarians requesting SARS-CoV-2 testing for an animal must have first performed a thorough and systematic diagnostic evaluation with appropriate testing to rule out common causes based on the patient’s clinical signs.
Currently, the following animals and situations will be considered for testing:
• Animals that have been in a household with a confirmed human COVID-19 case.
• Threatened or endangered non-human primates or other species in zoos or other facilities.
• Recently imported animals exhibiting an atypical pattern of disease suggesting a novel pathogen.
• Animals that are part of a validated research project.
Once approved, the TAHC will coordinate with the requesting veterinarian to ensure proper sampling and media are used for submission to the TVMDL.
For additional interim veterinary guidance on the testing of animals for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in Texas, review this TAHC document. For general veterinary guidance regarding animal SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, visit TAHC’s resource page.
Updated Guidance as of 4/13/2020
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently issued updated guidance on animal testing for SARS-CoV-2.
The key points from this newly issued guidance is:
- Routine testing of animals for SARS-CoV-2 is not recommended.
- The decision to test an animal (including companion animals, livestock, and wild or zoo animals) should be agreed upon using a One Health approach between appropriate local, state, and/or federal public health and animal health officials.
- Veterinarians are strongly encouraged to rule out other, more common causes of illness in animals before considering SARS-CoV-2 testing.
Please view the CDC’s resource page covering animal testing for SARS-CoV-2 here.
AVMA, AAVLD, NASPHV, and NASAHO Joint Statement
On April 21, the American Veterinary Medical Association recently published a joint statement regarding testing animals for SARS-CoV-2. Read the full statement by clicking here.
Testing Decision Tree
The American Veterinary Medical Association created a decision tree to use when determining if a veterinary patient should be tested for SARS-CoV-2. View the testing decision tree here.