If we are still learning about how coronovirus spreads among humans, and why some people get so sick compared to others – we barely scratch the surface of what it does to pets.
While the number of infected animals worldwide is relatively small, the first American dog to test positive for SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronovirus causing COVID-19, has tragically passed away.
National Geographic has identified the puppy as Buddy, a 7-year-old German Shepherd of Staten Island, NY, in an exclusive interview with his family, to be published this week. The elder passed away on July 11, only two and a half months after that, thick mucus started forming in his nose. But the Mahoney family got him tested and fully understood why his pet’s health had deteriorated so rapidly – and whether lymphoma, which had not been diagnosed until he died, included a Had played a role – it tells how many questions remain The effect of the virus on animals.
“You tell people that your dog was positive, and they look up to you [as if you have] Allison Mahoney, one of Buddy’s owners, said, 10 heads of National Geographic. “[Buddy] The love of our lives was… He brought happiness to everyone. I can’t wrap my head around it. ”
The family reported that Buddy began to have difficulty breathing in mid-April, when Allison’s husband Robert Mahoney had been ill 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 veterinarians he visited suspected that Buddy had coronovirus. In some cases, the clinic did not have a COVID-19 test on hand to detect. The third clinic that Mahoney visited finally tested Buddy, and was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on 15 May, a month after his symptoms began. By May 20, he tested negative for the virus, indicating that it was no longer present in his body – although he had antibodies to it, which was further evidence that he was infected. The US Department of Agriculture verified in a press release on June 2 that canine was the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the country.
Buddy’s diagnosis raised more questions, though: Could he have spread it to the family’s 10-month-old German Shepherd puppy, Duke, or someone else in the household? (He was not.) Did he contract with Robert? (It seems likely.) And why was this otherwise healthy dog’s health suddenly crashed, despite being on prescription antibiotics and steroids? (He was not yet diagnosed with a possible lymphoma.) He lost weight and started having trouble walking. And on the morning of July 11, the poor dog began to vomit clotted blood. There was nothing that the family or vet could do for Buddy, so he made the difficult decision to grant her euthanasia.
But the new blood work did the day Buddy found out that he had lymphoma, a type of cancer that could explain some of his symptoms. But it is still unclear whether this underlying condition made him more susceptible to coronovirus, or whether coronovirus made him sick earlier – or whether it was just a bad, coincidental time.
The Mahoneys will not bear any blame or ill towards the clinic. “I think they are also learning. This is all trial and error. Allison said that they tried their best to help us.
They wish the health authorities had performed a necropsy (essentially a pet autopsy, or postmortem medical examination) to learn more about the virus in Buddy’s body. The family does not remember that Buddy did not have to ask anyone about necropsies on the day he was grieved, though they considered the day sad. Robert Cohen, a Bay Street Animal Clinic vet who treated Buddy – and who lost his father to COVID-19 only a few weeks ago – told National Geographic that he asked NYC’s Health Department if it was Buddy Need to follow the body of research. But by the time NYCDOH responded to the decision to perform necropsy, Buddy had already been cremated. So we don’t know if coronovirus killed Buddy.
While Buddy’s test 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 it is very likely that he was a primary cause of the disease and eventually died, ”Dr. Doug Kratt, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), MarketMatch, told by email.
“We have a lot to learn about this virus and this disease,” he continued. “Research is underway to determine full access to SARS-CoV-2, how infection with the virus can affect animals, and which animals are susceptible and why (or why not).”
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While this case raises a lot of questions about coronovirus in animals, here’s what we know. On the plus side, there are very few cases of COVID-19 in animals, especially relative to humans. While the virus has infected more than 17 million people worldwide, there are fewer than 25 confirmed cases of pets globally – although it should be noted that there has not been extensive testing of pets.
The CDC is still not recommending routine testing for pets, largely because there is no evidence that pets are spreading the virus to people, and also because there are many health issues that COVID in pets Can cause symptoms similar to -19. “Because these other conditions are much more common in animals than SARS-CoV-2 infections, routine screening of pets for SARS-CoV-2 is currently recommended by animal infectious disease specialists, animal health officials, or public health veterinarians Is not, “Dr. Said. “Testing may be appropriate in some situations after a vet has been thoroughly evaluated by a vet to determine other causes of its disease.”
It is therefore unclear how many pets have been tested in the US, or how many coronaviruses can be carried.
“We don’t want to panic people. We do not want people to be afraid of pets ”or to run around to maim them, CDC officer Dr. Casey Barton Birvesh told AP. “There is no evidence that pets are playing a role in transmitting the disease to people.” What’s more, pets that get sick usually have mild symptoms, and they usually recover.
But the fatal case of Buddy raises the question of whether more pets should be tested moving forward, or if animals with underlying conditions may be exposed to the virus in the same way that many people with pre-existing health conditions People have been hit hard by COVID – 19. “There is certainly a possibility that the underlying condition may greatly reduce the dog’s natural defenses,” a South Carolina vet told National Geographic.
The FDA and CDC recommend that people practice social distance with their pets, such as keeping dogs on a leash and six feet away from dogs and people who are not from their home. Those who become ill with coronaviruses should isolate themselves from their pets if possible, as there is evidence that pets can catch humans’ viruses. And the UK’s chief veterinary officer has warned pet owners to stop kissing their pets, sharing food with them or sharing a bed with them.
Click here for more information about what we know so far about pets and coronaviruses, as well as answers to many questions about pet care during an epidemic.
For more information, check the following resources:
American Veterinary Medical Association: avma.org
Center for Disease Control: cdc.gov/coronavirus
And read more of MarketWatch’s coronavirus coverage here.