Taking long walks, playing with Duke – the other German shepherd of the Mahoney family – or bathing with the garden sprinklers were some of the hobbies that Buddy liked the most, who did not celebrate his seventh birthday.
In mid-April, the German Shepherd began to experience breathing difficulties, mucus, and vomiting. Six weeks later, he became the first dog in the United States to test positive for SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. And on July 11 he passed away, as reported exclusively by National Geographic.
“Without a doubt, I thought [Buddy] was also positive,” Robert Mahoney, owner of the animal and sick with coronavirus, told National Geographic. The report recounts the odyssey for the Mahoney family visiting several vets to get Buddy treated.
Buddy most likely had lymphoma, a type of cancer, according to medical records the dog’s family turned over to National Geographic for review. This would explain the symptoms that the German shepherd suffered just before his death.
However, the Mahoney family was not aware of Buddy’s disease until the day of his death, when they obtained the results of the complementary blood tests, according to the some media reports.
For now, it remains unknown whether Buddy contracted the coronavirus because cancer made him more susceptible or if the coronavirus was the cause of the development of the lymphoma.
Coronavirus in animals
Months ago, the US Department of Agriculture confirmed that Buddy was the first coronavirus-infected dog in the country. There are currently at least 25 other infected animals.
Buddy’s contagion took time to become public. To this day, public records of pets that have tested positive in the United States are still scarce, making it difficult for family members and scientists to know the real causes of animal deaths.
Buddy’s story brings to the table the experience of pain and uncertainty of many other families whose pets have tested positive for Covid-19. The United States remains the country with the most confirmed cases of Covid-19, with a total of 4,426,982 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. However, the census of infected animals only includes a total of 24 cases.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers guidance on caring for a pet with coronavirus, although information on testing or gathering information for veterinarians is not included. There is no conclusive evidence yet on how the virus affects pets.