First COVID-19 canine patient in US euthanised months after diagnosis

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COVID-19 positive dog Buddy passed away in New York, United States months after being diagnosed. Buddy’s health declined sharply since he started showing symptoms of the viral infection. The dog became infected by the coronavirus after owner Robert Mahoney tested positive. Even though Buddy was no longer contagious since May, on July 11 he was put down. Medical reports revealed that the dog had lymphoma which contributed to the symptoms he showed before death. The correlation between viral infection and cancer remains unclear.

In mid-April just days before German shepherd’s seventh birthday, Robert noticed that his pet had mucus around his nose and was struggling to breathe. Just before Easter, the Staten Island resident had tested positive for COVID-19. He suspected that his dog had become infected by the virus as well. However, Robert’s speculation was dismissed by Buddy’s vet as very few animals in the world have been infected by the coronavirus.

The dog owner shared that his beloved companion had been struggling to breathe and was rapidly losing weight. Their other 10-month-old German shepherd, Duke, did not seem to be showing the same symptoms as Buddy.

Robert was unable to take Buddy to a vet as he was in home-quarantine. When his 13-year-old daughter Julianna Mahoney tested negative, she was able to take the dog to the vet. Two vets diagnosed him with enlarged spleen and liver as well as a heart murmur. A third vet finally tested Buddy for COVID-19 and the test came positive. Almost a month since the dog started having troubles breathing, the family was able to get him tested.

Speaking to National Geographic, Robert pointed out that people did not take him seriously when he wanted to get his dog tested for COVID-19. He also stated that the authorities were not keen on gathering information on Buddy. He said that the authorities only conducted two blood tests and did not contact the family after the second test in May.

Both the dogs were tested on May 15 and May 20. New York City Department of Health contacted the family on June 2 to tell them that Buddy’s second samples tested negative. They also told the family that Duke’s blood had antibodies indicating that he had been infected by the coronavirus at some point as well.

Even though Buddy was no longer infected by the virus, his health did not improve. On July 11, he was found by Robert’s wife, Allison Mahoney, throwing up clotted blood. The family took him to the vet and a bleak prognosis forced the family to put the suffering pet to sleep.

Roberts said that there was no post mortem examination of the animal. Buddy was cremated after his death. Only after his death did the family find out that their dog may have had lymphoma which had caused his health to decline further.


Buddy the seven-year-old German shepherd was the first dog in the US to test positive with COVID-19. (representational image)