City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Austin Humane Society and Austin Animal Center are teaming up with Texas A&M and Texas DSHS to conduct a study on coronavirus in cats.
Austin, TX (April 21, 2022) – The Austin Humane Society and Austin Animal Center are teaming up with Texas A&M and the Texas Department of State Health Services to conduct a study on coronavirus in cats. The funding for the study – a $65,000 grant – was approved today by Austin City Council.
The study aims to determine if there are coronaviruses circulating or mutating among animals that could potentially pose a risk to humans. Community Cats, a joint program of AHS and AAC delivering trap-neuter-return services for free-roaming, unowned cats in Travis County, provides an ideal opportunity to participate in the study.
As part of this national study, AHS will take throat swabs from already-sedated cats during the neuter process. The samples will be sent to Texas A&M, where experts will determine if coronavirus is present. If the virus is detected, they will run more specific tests to identify whether it’s feline coronavirus, SARS CoV-2, or a different coronavirus. Positive samples for SARS CoV-2 will be sent to the National Veterinary Diagnostic Lab for confirmation and gene sequencing to identify if there are mutations. Finally, the Texas Department of State Health Services will assist in reporting the findings to the CDC.
“We are very excited to be participating in this ground-breaking study,” said Dr. Katie Luke, Chief Operations Officer for AHS. “There is still a lot we don’t know about coronavirus and how it mutates, so we hope this study will help to identify best practices moving forward, and help understand potential sources of mutated viruses that affect human health.”
The grant approved today by Austin City Council is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE). For more information, please contact Katie Kennedy, AHS Director of Communications, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Austin Humane Society
The Austin Humane Society (AHS) offers comprehensive, humane, life-saving animal services, transforming the lives of animals and those who love them. Because we believe homeless animals deserve a chance to thrive in a loving environment, we offer innovative, nationally recognized programs that save the lives of thousands of dogs and cats each year. AHS’ approach to addressing animal homelessness encompasses both finding animals homes through adoption as well as preventing future homelessness through spay/neuter programs.
The Austin Humane Society is open from noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information about AHS adoptable animals and programs, please visit www.AustinHumaneSociety.org or call 512-646-7387.
About Austin Animal Center
The City of Austin Animal Services Office operates the Austin Animal Center, and is home to the largest No Kill community in the United States. Austin Animal Center provides shelter to more than 11,000 animals annually and safely places more than 95% of all pets. Our goal is to provide a safe place for lost and homeless animals, education to prevent animal homelessness and promote responsible pet ownership, and to preserve the human-animal bond.
For more information about Austin Animal Center, visit austinanimalcenter.org.