If we still learn about how the coronavirus spreads among humans, and why some people get sicker than others, we almost scratched the surface, which it does for pets.
Although the number of infected animals worldwide remains relatively low, the first American dog to test positive for SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, has sadly died.
In an exclusive interview with his family published this week, National Geographic identified the pet as Buddy, a 7-year-old German Shepherd from State Island, New York. Buddy passed away on July 11, just two and a half months after he began wheezing and developing a thick mucous membrane in his nose. But the Mahoney family’s struggle to get tested and fully understand why their pet̵7;s health was declining so rapidly – and whether lymphoma, which was not diagnosed until the day of his death – played a role, illustrates how many questions remain about the virus’s effects on animals.
“You tell people that your dog has been positive and they are looking at you [as if you have] 10 goals, “said Allison Mahoney, one of Buddy’s owners, according to National Geographic.”[Buddy] was the love of our lives … He brought joy to all. I can’t wrap my head around that. ”
The family explained that Buddy began to show shortness of breath in mid-April, when Allison’s husband Robert Mahoney was infected with the virus for three weeks. Without a shadow of a doubt, I thought [Buddy] was positive, “said Robert.
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But the first few vets they visited were skeptical that Buddy had a coronavirus. In some cases, clinics simply did not have the COVID-19 test at hand. The third clinic Mahoney visited finally tested Buddy, and he was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on May 15, a month after his symptoms appeared. Until May 20, he tested negative for the virus, indicating that it was no longer in his body – although he had antibodies to it, which was another indication of his infection. In a June 2 press release, the US Department of Agriculture confirmed that Buddy was the first confirmed case of canine COVID-19 in the country.
However, Buddha’s diagnosis raised more questions: could he extend this to a 10-month-old German Shepherd puppy, a family, a duke or someone else in the house? (He didn’t.) Did he contract it with Robert? (This seems likely.) And why did this dog’s health suddenly break down, despite the fact that he was prescribing antibiotics and steroids? (He has not yet been diagnosed with possible lymphoma.) He lost weight and began to have trouble walking. And on the morning of July 11, the poor dog began vomiting condensed blood. There was nothing the family or veterinarians could do for the Buddha, so they made the difficult decision to euthanize him.
But a new blood work done the day Buddy was euthanized, found that he apparently had lymphoma, a type of cancer that could explain some of his symptoms to the end. But it is still unclear whether this underlying condition made him more vulnerable to the coronavirus, or whether the coronavirus was the first to become ill – or whether it was just a bad coincidence.
Mahony bears no guilt or ill will towards the clinic. “I think they are also studying. These are all trial and error. And they tried to help us in the best way possible, ”Allison said.
They want health officials to do a necropsy (essentially a pet autopsy or a medical examination) to learn more about the virus in Buddy’s body. The family does not remember anyone asking them about the necropsy on the day of Buddy’s euthanasia, although they admit that the sad day was blurred. Robert Cohen, a veterinarian at the Bay Street Animal Clinic who treated Buddy and who lost his father to COVID-19 just a couple of weeks ago, told National Geographic that he asked the New York Health Department if he needed to Buddy’s body for further study. But by the time the NYCDOH responded to the decision to do the necropsy, Buddy had already been cremated. So we don’t know for sure if the coronavirus killed Buddy.
“During testing, Buddy indicated an infection with SARS-CoV-2 [the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19]he also had lymphoma, which can cause clinical symptoms similar to those described, and this was most likely the primary cause of his illness and ultimately death, ”said Dr. Doug Cratt, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). ). by email.
“We need to know a lot more about this virus and this disease,” he continued. “Studies are currently underway to determine the full coverage of SARS-CoV-2, how the virus can affect animals, and which animals are susceptible and why (or why not).”
Related:Owners have warned to stop kissing pets, as the latter in the UK warns of a cat infected with coronavirus
Although this case raises many questions about coronavirus in animals, here’s what we know. On the plus side, there are very few cases of COVID-19 in animals, especially humans. Although the virus has infected more than 17 million people worldwide, there are fewer than 25 confirmed cases worldwide, although it should be noted that there has been no extensive testing of pets.
The CDC still does not recommend routine testing for pets, largely because there is no evidence that pets spread the virus to humans, and also because there are many health problems that can cause COVID-like symptoms. 19 in pets. “Because these other conditions are much more common than SARS-CoV-2 infection in animals, routine pet testing for SARS-CoV-2 is currently not recommended by veterinary infectious disease experts, animal health officials or public veterinarians,” said Krat. “Testing may be appropriate in certain situations after the animal has fully evaluated the veterinarian to rule out other causes of their illness.”
So it remains unclear how many pets in the United States have been tested or how many have been able to transmit the coronavirus.
“We don’t want people to panic. We don’t want people to be afraid of pets” or rush to test them en masse, said Dr. Casey’s director general Barton Behravesh. “There is no evidence that pets play a role in the spread of the disease in moreover, sick pets usually have mild symptoms and they usually recover.
But Buddy’s death raises the question of whether more pets should be tested moving forward, or animals with basic conditions may be more vulnerable to the virus, just as many people with pre-existing health conditions are more affected by COVID. “19. Of course, it’s likely that the ground condition can weaken a dog’s natural defenses to many things,” a South Carolina veterinarian told National Geographic.
The FDA and CDC recommend that people practice social distancing with pets, such as keeping dogs on a leash and six feet away from dogs and people who are not their pets. Everyone who has the coronavirus should isolate themselves from their pets whenever possible, as there is evidence that pets can be infected with the virus from humans. And Britain’s chief veterinarian has warned pet owners to stop kissing their pets, sharing food with them or sharing beds with them.
Click here for more information about what we know about pets and the coronavirus so far, as well as answers to many pet care questions during a pandemic.
And for more information, see the following resources:
American Veterinary Medical Association: avma.org
Disease Control Centers: cdc.gov/coronavirus
Read more about MarketWatch coronavirus coverage here.