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COVID-19: German Shepherd In NY, One Of First Dogs In Nation To Test Positive, Dies At Age 6

German Shepherd
German Shepherd Photo Credit: Provided

A dog in New York who was one of the first in the country to be diagnosed with COVID-19 died shortly before his seventh birthday.

Buddy, a German Shepherd living with his family in Staten Island, began having trouble breathing in mid-April, around the time the COVID pandemic peaked in New York.

When the dog began getting sick, he was tested and it was determined he was positive for COVID-19. 

He also had lymphoma, his family said, which was diagnosed on the day of his death on Saturday, July 11, according to a report in National Geographic.

The Mahoneys said approximately every two weeks a new problem would arise; he could no longer control his bladder and his urine became bloody, his breathing grew much heavier, and then he started to have trouble walking.

‘We knew there was nothing that could be done for him from there,” they said. “What are you going to do for a dog with this? But he had the will to live. He didn’t want to go.”

Buddy was put on antibiotics, and later, steroids after other tests detected a heart murmur.

The New York City Department of Health told National Geographic that because Buddy was severely anemic, it did not want to collect additional blood out of concern for the dog’s health.

Confirmation results showed it was unlikely that he was still shedding virus - meaning he was likely no longer contagious - by Wednesday, May 20, when he was tested the second time.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture first informed the public in early June that at least one dog had tested positive for COVID-19, but didn't provide specifics other than his location.

Officials said samples taken from that dog showed signs of respiratory illness, but the animal was expected to make a full recovery. One of the dog's owners also tested positive for COVID-19.

A second dog in the Mahoney's home didn't show signs of the virus, but did test positive for the antibodies, suggesting that dog may have contracted it and recovered.

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.”

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