Cats and dogs infected with COVID-19 developing myocarditis

(WISH) — According to a new study published in Veterinary Record, cats and dogs are contracting the coronavirus. Specifically, the alpha variant. 

But not only are they getting infected — these household pets are developing a dangerous COVID-19 side effect that also occurs in humans.

Researchers in the United Kingdom discovered that cats and dogs are susceptible to infection as well as the heart problem commonly found as a result of infection: heart inflammation, or myocarditis.

According to the paper, four cats and two dogs became infected weeks after their owners tested positive for COVID-19. Following infection, all animals showed signs of the potentially fatal cardiac condition. 

“Our study reports the first cases of cats and dogs affected by the COVID-19 alpha variant and highlights, more than ever, the risk that companion animals … can become infected with COVID-19,” lead author, Dr. Luca Ferason, said in a news release.

Ferason added that this research is the first of its kind to detect severe myocarditis in cats and dogs. Additionally, he says, there is no evidence to support transmission from pet to human — rather, it’s the other way around.