MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A lot of pet owners are now wondering if their animal can catch the coronavirus after a 4-year-old tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive.

“It’s the first known case of an animal catching the virus under these circumstances,” said Zoo Miami Communications Director Ron Magill.

According to the USDA, samples from Nadia the Malayan tiger were taken and evaluated after several lions and tigers at the zoo showed symptoms of respiratory illness. In Nadia’s case, it was a dry cough. She was the only that tested positive.

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“This is certainly unusual. We’re in unchartered territory,” Magill said. “We do not know what animals can contract the disease if it’s what we call zoonotic diseases that can be transferred between animals and humans.”

So now the question is can our pets be exposed as well?

“Of course there is a possibility. Anybody who says there is no possibility hasn’t been watching this thing evolving over the weeks,” Magill said. “The fact is we are learning something new every day.”

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Magill said social distancing is key – not only between humans but also now with our pets.

“Bottom line, we need to be cautious and now make exemptions. As much as we want to hug and pet our animals, people do not do that with their grandparents or parents or kids, we are not doing it with our human families.  We have to quarantine, be cautious, same thing with pets,” he said.

If your pets should show signs, Magill said not to panic for a simple sneeze or cough but if the symptoms persist do take them to the vet.

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Marybel Rodriguez

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