North Carolina health officials said Tuesday that a dog who died of COVID-19-like respiratory symptoms was the first dog in the state to test positive for the coronavirus.
The dog was admitted to NC State Veterinary Hospital on Aug. 3 after showing signs of shortness of breath that day.
“The dog unfortunately succumbed to its acute illness,” the North Carolina Department of Health said in a press release. “The customer warned employees that a family member had previously tested positive for COVID-19 and later negative.”
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The dog was a male Newfoundland dog who was around 8 years old, NC State University spokesman Mick Kulikowski told the Charlotte Observer.
The dog was referred to NC State after being seen by its veternarian, Kulikowski said, according to the newspaper.
Officials did not disclose the dog’s name or the location where it and its owner lived.
The press release states that an autopsy was performed to determine the health of the animal at the time of death and the cause of death. The results were still pending.
“Based on the information available, the risk of animals transmitting the virus to humans is considered to be low,” said Dr. Carl Williams, Public Health Veterinarian.
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The state veterinarian Dr. Doug Meckes said there was no evidence at this point that dogs could transmit the virus to other animals. “So there is no justification for taking action against pets that could affect their welfare.”
In April, North Carolina media reported that a pug named Winston in Chapel Hill was positive for COVID-19 after a test at Duke University. Winston was believed to be the first dog to develop the virus in the United States
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However, more tests later showed the pug likely never had the virus, according to WRAL-TV on Tuesday.