New York German Shepherd, the First Dog to Test Positive for Coronavirus in the U.S., Has Died


The first dog to test positive for coronavirus in the United States, a German Shepherd named Buddy, died earlier this month.

Buddy, who lived in Staten Island with his owners, the Mahoney family, died on July 11th, ahead of his seventh birthday, according to an exclusive from National Geographic, which also reported that the dog was likely suffering from lymphoma, a type of cancer, before his death.

Although the USDA released a statement about the dog’s coronavirus diagnosis last month, the National Geographic's story marked the first time Buddy’s identity was publicly revealed.

After Buddy first began experiencing difficulty breathing in April, Robert Mahoney — who received confirmation he had tested positive for COVID-19 on Easter — believed that the respiratory illness could be responsible for the canine’s symptoms.

"Without a shadow of a doubt, I thought [Buddy] was positive," he told National Geographic.

As the weeks progressed, Buddy lost his appetite and began suffering from weight loss and becoming increasingly lethargic. After visiting three separate veterinarians, Robert was finally able to get his dog tested for the virus on May 15, and learned a few days later that the dog had tested positive.

The results were confirmed by the New York City Department of Health on June 2, although additional testing performed 5 days later indicated that the virus was no longer present. Additionally, the family’s 10-month-old dog Duke tested negative, but antibodies were found in his blood.

However, even after COVID-19 was no longer present in his body, Buddy continued to have difficulty breathing and also experienced blood in his urine.

Then on the morning of July 11, after the family discovered Buddy throwing up what appeared to be clotted blood, they took him to the vet and decided to euthanize him. Buddy was

That same day, the family learned that blood work indicated that Buddy had likely suffered from lymphoma, which would explain his symptoms — although it’s unclear if there was any link between Buddy’s cancer and his coronavirus diagnosis.

Scientists around the world are still uncovering new information about the novel coronavirus — including its impact on animals.

To date, the USDA has reported that at least 12 dogs and 10 cats have tested positive for COVID-19, and that reported infections mostly occur "after close contact with people with COVID-19."

According to National Geographic, two additional dogs who had tested for coronavirus have also died, although their deaths were attributed to other conditions.

The Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the American Veterinary Medical Association have all stated that there is currently no evidence that animals can significantly spread the virus to humans — but that "further studies are needed to understand if and how" coronavirus affects different species.

For more on this story, visit natgeo.com.

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