Buddy, the seven-years-old German Shephard from New York state in the US, died after he became the first dog in America to die from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, National Geographic reports.
The active and gleeful dog reportedly started to develop breathlessness in mid-August and within six weeks, on June 2, he became the first dog in the US to test SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused COVID-19, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the USDA said in a statement.
It was believed that the dog who contracted the virus from his owner, who also tested positive for the virus and was expected to make a full recovery. However, the beloved canine passed out on June 11.
Buddy’s condition worsened with time since he tested positive and on June 11th he had to be euthanized after his health fell considerably – he vomited and urinated blood and seized to walk.
Buddy’s health reports, later analyzed by veterinaries for National Geographic confirmed the dog also had lymphoma, cancer. What ultimately lead to Buddy’s death is still unclear.
“[Buddy] was the love of our lives….He brought joy to everybody. I can’t wrap my head around it,” Allison Mahoney was quoted as saying.
But it was a difficult journey for the family towards diagnosing their dog for the virus. Public health officials and veterinarians could not offer much information about the dog when it initially started to show symptoms similar to COVID-19.
When the dog, who has never been sick, started to develop thick mucus and breathing heavily back in April, his owner Robert Mahoney was the only one who suspected the dog could have COVID-19, given he himself battled the virus for three-weeks.
Buddy’s family is among the handful of other pet owners whose pets died from the virus. However, the urge of governments in understanding those cases is terribly scarce.
So far only 2 dogs and at least 10 cats tested positive for the coronavirus in the US according to National Geographic. The CDC and WHO states that though the virus is of a zoonotic origin animals do not pose a threat of spreading the virus to humans.
“If we’re telling the world that prevalence [of animal cases] is low, then we have to look at high numbers,” Shelly Rankin, Chief Of Clinical Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine said. She criticized the lack of government interest in tracing and studying the novel virus in pets and how it develops.
Note: Cover image is representative.