The first confirmed case of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in a dog has been recorded in New York. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on June 2 that a German shepherd has been infected with the disease, likely passed along by its owner.
An initial test by a private veterinarian was later confirmed by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Another dog in the home tested negative for coronavirus, but the presence of antibodies in its bloodstream indicate that it may have been exposed, National Geographic reports.
Both the dog and its human are expected make a full recovery. There is also little fear that the dog will pass the disease along to anyone else, as there is no evidence that pets are capable of transmitting the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
“We’re still learning about the virus that causes COVID-19, but based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low,” said Kate Grusich, a spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
“SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in a small number of animals worldwide, mostly in animals that had close contact with a person who was sick with COVID-19,” the USDA website reports. “At this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended. State and local animal health and public health officials will work with USDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to make determinations about whether animals should be tested for SARS-CoV-2, using a One Health approach.
Nat Geo reports that five tigers, three lions, and three domestic cats have so far tested positive for coronavirus this year, all making full recoveries. The positive test in a dog is unprecedented development for the United States, one which the CDC is now paying closer attention to.
“This case further highlights the importance of pet owners with COVID-19 avoiding contact with pets and other animals during their illness to prevent spreading the virus to them,” Grusich said.
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Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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