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Why tigers get coronavirus but your dog will be fine

Vox’s new daily show, Answered, explains the mystery.

Meet Nadia the Tiger. She’s one of several big cats at the Bronx Zoo recently diagnosed with Covid-19.

Nadia and her peers are recovering well, but a small number of household cats and dogs across the US have also tested positive for the disease. Their cases highlight an important fact about the coronavirus: It’s zoonotic, meaning it can transmit between humans and animals.

Zoonotic diseases are common. On average, a new infectious disease emerges in humans every four months, and roughly 75 percent of them come from animals. The common cold originated in camels. Many strains of flu come from pigs and birds. HIV transferred to humans from chimpanzees. And we, too, can transmit diseases to the animals we interact with at home and in the wild.

Which begs the question: Which animals are vulnerable to Covid-19? And how safe are our pets?

The answer lies with a special receptor on animals’ cells called ACE-2.

In this video, we explore which animals can contract and transmit the coronavirus, and whether or not we should be worried about our pets. This episode is part of our new daily show, Answered by Vox, which is published every weekday on Quibi. In each episode, we explore a question about this confusing and often scary moment we’re in, and get an answer from an expert that we hope will make living through it just a little bit easier.

You can find more episodes here, or download the Quibi app on your phone and search for “Answered.” We’ll be there every day.