First U.S. Dog Tests Positive For Coronavirus

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A German shepherd in New York is the first dog in the country to officially test positive for the coronavirus, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced.

The dog showed signs of respiratory illness but was expected to make a full recovery. One of its owners tested positive for COVID-19, and another showed symptoms before the dog did. A second dog in the household tested positive for antibodies, although it didn’t show signs of illness.

Only a small number of animals have tested positive for the virus, most of whom had contact with someone who had COVID-19.


Many experts have been concerned that owners will abandon their pets because they’re worried about getting the virus from them. Owners have also worried that their pets will get sick from the virus.

Pet owner concerns make it vital to confirm that an animal does indeed have the virus before announcing it, Kara M. Burns wrote in fellow NAVC publication Today’s Veterinary Nurse. A pug in North Carolina was said to have the virus in April, but follow-up testing couldn’t confirm that result.

“Most likely we will continue to hear of pets testing positive, which will result in owners’ increased anxiety regarding their own pets,” Burns wrote. “Take each question as it comes. Listen and give fact-based answers in a calm and reassuring tone. People are scared. Be knowledgeable and positive and above all be kind.”

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