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COVID-19: First Dog Tests Positive Shortly After Cases Confirmed In Cats

A pug tested positive for COVID-19 at Duke University. Photo Credit: Pixabay
The dog was part of a Duke University study that tested an entire family for the virus. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to prove that it doesn’t discriminate when choosing its victims.

A pug in North Carolina has tested positive for COVID-19, which is believed to be the first confirmed case for a dog in the United States. There have also been confirmed cases of pet cats, as well as tigers and lions in the Bronx Zoo contracting the virus.

The dog was part of a Duke University study that tested an entire family for the virus. The pug, Winston, joined the family’s mother, father, and son as having confirmed cases. A daughter, as well as a second dog, and a cat all tested negative for COVID-19.

“Pugs are a little unusual in that they cough and sneeze in a very strange way,” Heather McLean, the mother and a professor of pediatrics at Duke said to WRAL in Raleigh. “So it almost seems like he was gagging, and there was one day when he didn’t want to eat his breakfast, and if you know pugs, you know they love to eat, so that seemed very unusual.”

The CDC said that due to the low number of COVID-19 cases in household pets, routine testing of animals has not been recommended, though state and federal health officials are making new determinations about whether an animal should be tested.

CDC guidelines on pets say “there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19,” but recommends you treat them “as you would other human family members.”

“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.”

"To our knowledge, this is the first instance in which the virus has been detected in a dog. Little additional information is known at this time as we work to learn more about the exposure," MESSI principal investigator Dr. Chris Woods said in a statement.

Winston has since fully recovered and “has been acting like himself," the family reported.

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