According to a news release from the Georgia Department of Public Health, the 6-year-old mixed breed dog was euthanized after it developed a "sudden" neurological condition that progressed rapidly.
However, because the dog's owners had recently tested positive for COVID-19, health officials decided to test the dog as well, even though it did not have any symptoms of a respiratory disease. The United States Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the presumptive positive test result, though health officials said the neurological illness was not caused by the novel coronavirus, but by another condition.
Another dog in the household has also been tested for COVID-19, according to health officials. The results of that test are pending.
RELATED: Steps you can take to protect your pet from COVID-19
The first dog to test presumptively positive for COVID-19 in the US was a pug in Chapel Hill, N.C. The dog's owners were taking part in a study at Duke University to help develop diagnostic tests and better understand the virus.
However, further testing failed to confirm the positive result, and the pug, Winston, did not have antibodies for the COVID-19. The USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories concluded that the dog never actually had the virus.
According for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while the novel coronavirus came from an animal, there is no current evidence that shows that animals play a significant role in spreading COVID-19, and the risk of the virus spreading from animals to people is considered low.
Reports of pet cats and dogs becoming infected with COVID-19 have surfaced around the world, but the CDC reports that most only had mild illness--if any symptoms--and fully recovered. In New York, several tigers and lions tested positive at the Bronx Zoo after showing signs of a respiratory illness--all the cats have recovered.
The CDC recommends keeping pets away from household members who have tested positive for COVID-19 and not letting pets interact with people outside the household.