Idexx Laboratories has produced a SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR test for pets.

The company says it has made the test available in response to customer demand and growing evidence that in rare cases pets living with COVID-19-positive humans can be at risk of infection.

The test will be available to veterinary surgeons in North America this week and will roll out across most of the world in the coming weeks, via the company's worldwide network of laboratories.

Jay Mazelsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of Idexx Laboratories said: "We have continued to monitor the rapidly evolving public health crisis worldwide, paying special attention to the effects on pets.

"While there is currently no evidence that dogs or cats play a role in transmitting the disease to humans, it became clear offering the test was the right thing to do when we saw clinical evidence that pets—especially cats and ferrets—can in rare cases be at risk for infection. And, we heard from our customers around the globe that veterinarians needed a testing option."

Idexx recommends the test is used when three specific criteria are met: 

  • Pet is living in a household with a human who has COVID-19 or has tested positive for the virus
  • Pet has already been tested for more common infections, that a veterinarian has ruled out
  • Pet (especially cats and ferrets) is showing clinical signs consistent with COVID-19

Idexx says leading health authorities agree with the company that transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is primarily person-to-person and advise against testing asymptomatic pets. Since mid-February, the company has tested over 5,000 specimens for the virus, from cats, dogs, and horses with respiratory symptoms in 17 countries. To date, it has found no positive results, suggesting that dogs and cats living with infected people generally remain uninfected, except in rare and isolated cases. 

For information about the Idexx SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR Test for pets, visit idexx.com/covid19-pet-test.


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