There is currently a study being completed by Duke University in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, which has confirmed the first positive case of coronavirus in a dog in the United States. The dog is a pug named Winston, who was tested as well as the mother, father, and child of the family. Coronavirus cases have been reported in dogs, however up until now there was only confirmed cases in China, this is the first confirmed case in the United States. This will be an interesting case to study as well because Pugs are known to have respiratory issues because of the shape of their face. This definitely raises questions as to should we be more worried about specific dog breeds contracting the novel coronavirus? Duke University is reporting that the dog was displaying mild symptoms of the novel coronavirus for a couple days but is currently doing much better.
The family noticed that something was wrong with their dog initially when he started to seem like he was gagging, this raised suspicions however when the dog stopped eating their food, they knew that something had to be wrong. The child of the family stated that it did make sense that their dog would get it, because the dog always licks their dinner plates and sleeps in the parent’s bed. So it is extremely likely that this is another case of human-to-animal transmission. Guidelines from the CDC website still state that “At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.” They also recommend that we treat them the same that we would treat any family member. However, with this new evidence, we may need to extend our social distancing guidelines to our pets as well. It is interesting to note also that the family did have four pets overall: two dogs, a cat, and a lizard. As of this time only the two dogs and the cat were tested for the coronavirus and only one of the dogs tested positive.
The family who participated in this study is hoping that the results will be able to shed a little more light on whether we need to start testing animals for the virus, and how they will stand up against it. Many of us care deeply about our animals and would be just as devastated for them to get sick as we would for a family member to get sick, so it is important to make sure we are also keeping them safe in every way that we can. It is important to limit your pet’s interactions with other animals or people when outside of the house. Treat your dog just like you would another family member, and if they are inside your social distancing circle it is important to not let it expand by letting them interact with others. Doing this is just an extra safety net to really ensure their health and yours, currently as stated by the CDC there is currently no evidence that pets are actively spreading the virus.