For the first time in the US, a dog has tested positive for Covid-19, sparking questions about what, if any, capacity our pets have to spread the disease.
The poorly pooch in question is a German Shepherd named Buddy in New York who was taken to the vet after he started showing signs of respiratory illness. Prior to Buddy, there were cases of dogs testing positive for coronavirus in Hong Kong, but it seems infection in dogs is still rare or at least that it doesn't cause them noticeable symptoms. There have also been several reports of pet cats being infected as well as an incident where a tiger caught the disease from its keeper at the Bronx Zoo.
In Buddy’s household, there was a second dog who didn’t show any Covid symptoms but when they tested the animal's blood, coronavirus antibodies were found. There was another suspected case of canine coronavirus in the US last week in a pug named Winston, but fortunately Winston's results were negative. The United States Department of Agriculture explained that while veterinary testing of pets for Covid-19 is taking place it doesn’t limit the access of human patients to testing.
"One of the dog’s owners tested positive for COVID-19, and another showed symptoms consistent with the virus, prior to the dog," the Department of Agriculture said in a statement. "The dog is expected to make a full recovery."
While pets do appear to be able to catch Covid-19 from their owners, the US Department of Agriculture insists there is still no evidence that they are able to influence the spread of the disease in any significant way. However, they advise pet owners to be wary if they suspect they themselves are infected with the illness as, in the case of Buddy and others, it seems it is possible for us to infect our four-legged friends.