Buddy, the first dog diagnosed with Covid-19 in the US, dies

A German shepherd, the first dog diagnosed with coronavirus in the United States, died in mid-July in New York and his owners regret that no time has yet been spent investigating the effects of the virus on animals, local media have reported.

Buddy, who loved long walks and swimming, started having respiratory problems in mid-April, the month he turned seven, according to his owners, the Mahoney family.

By that time, his owner, who had been dealing with the symptoms of the virus for weeks, also tested positive for Covid-19 while Buddy developed thick mucus in his nose and began to breathe hard.

The Mahoney family recalled that it was very difficult to find a veterinarian to test their pet for the virus, which took a month as the dog’s health continued to deteriorate. He had lost weight and was lethargic.

The dog was treated with antibiotics and then steroids by developing a murmur in his heart. They finally found a veterinary clinic that agreed to test the German Shepherd, who tested positive, while for Duke, another ten-month-old family dog, it was negative.

Another test of the virus, performed five days later, showed that Buddy no longer had the virus in his system and had developed antibodies, confirming that he did have Covid-19, but his condition continued to worsen and he had trouble walking. On July 11, after starting to vomit blood, his family opted for euthanasia.

Results of a blood test that had been done to the dog and whose results they received that same day indicate that the German shepherd probably had cancer.

The family has also said they are confused in part because no one seems interested in learning about their pet’s death and Covid’s role in it, considering the few confirmed cases of the virus in animals.

The Mahoneys regretted that so little is known about the virus in animals so far because research has focused only on humans. A Department of Agriculture database of confirmed cases of coronavirus in animals in the United States includes 12 dogs, a tiger, and a lion. The agency says they have no evidence that animals play a role in the spread of the coronavirus, but apparently people can transmit it to animals in some situations.

A spokesman for the New York City Department of Health said arrangements had been made to take the dog’s corpse away for an autopsy, but by the time the instructions were shared with the vet, they had already cremated the pet.

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