The first dog to be diagnosed for COVID-19 in the United States has died on July 11, a month ahead of its 7th birthday. Buddy, a German shepherd, was euthanized by its owners in Staten Island after it was evident that it was not going to recover from its coronavirus disease which was possibly worsened by lymphoma, a type of cancer which the dog had.
Buddy was owned by Robert and Allison Mahoney, and the couple also had another dog named Duke. The second dog was not found to have coronavirus, but it had antibodies that veterinary doctors believed could be the result of a cured COVID-19 infection – meaning the dog possibly had the disease without anyone’s knowledge but recovered from it.
Buddy was diagnosed with coronavirus after developing respiratory problems which made its breathing difficult and labored. With time, it lost a lot of weight and could not eat or keep down food. After visiting three different veterinarians without many diagnoses as to what ailed it, the dog was tested for COVID-19 and the result came back positive. Further tests in April indicated that the dog might be recovering and the New York City Department of Health said in June that the canine was shedding the virus.
But the dog still experienced breathing difficulty and had blood in its urine, as well as clotted blood in its vomit. This was when its owner decided to let the dog go.
“It looked like it was his insides coming out,” Allison Mahoney said. “He had it all over. It was coming from his nose and mouth. We knew there was nothing that could be done for him from there. What are you going to do for a dog with this? But he had the will to live. He didn’t want to go.”
Other independent veterinarians who examined the dog noted that it was unclear whether the dog’s coronavirus made its cancer worse or the other way round. “It’s unclear whether cancer made him more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus, or if the virus made him ill, or if it was just a case of coincidental timing,” they told National Geographic earlier reported the situation.
The USDA stated that at least 12 dogs and 10 cats have coronavirus in the United States, with a lion and tigers at the Bronx Zoo also testing positive to the disease. Health experts said the chances of animals or pets transmitting the disease to humans are low, but pet owners should exercise precautions when their animals begin to show signs of sickness.
“Do not let pets interact with people or animals outside the household. If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets,” the CDC advised.