North Carolina dog that died after respiratory illness tests positive for virus that causes COVID-19

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Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Pet owners react after news dog that died had novel coronavirus
Pet owners react after news dog that died had novel coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A dog that died after demonstrating signs of respiratory distress has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.

This marks the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in a dog in North Carolina.

According to NCDHHS, last Monday around 6 p.m., a client arrived at the NC State Veterinary Hospital with their dog who was demonstrating signs of respiratory distress with onset earlier that day.

The dog later died from its illness. The client told staff that a member of the family had previously tested positive for COVID-19 and later tested negative.

Social distancing applies to pets too, CDC says

Samples collected from the dog were tested for the SARS-CoV-2 virus and were then sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories for testing.

Those tests confirmed a positive result, according to NCDHHS.

Now that the coronavirus seems to be spreading in the animal kingdom, local experts are saying we should take precautions while handling our own pets.

A necropsy was performed to try to determine the animal's state of health at the time of death and the cause of death. That investigation is still ongoing.

"Based on the information available, the risk of animals spreading the virus to people is considered to be low," Dr. Carl Williams, State Public Health Veterinarian, said in a news release.

If pet owners are concerned about the health of their dog, they should contact their veterinarian and discuss the dog's symptoms before bringing them to the veterinarian office.

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According to the CDC and the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, there is currently no evidence that pets play a significant role in spreading the virus.

"There is no indication at this time that dogs can transmit the virus to other animals, so there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare," said State Veterinarian Dr. Doug Meckes.