First Dog to Test Positive for COVID-19 in the U.S., Buddy, Dies

by Jacklyn Krol
First Dog With coronavirus COVID-19 dies

Unfortunately, Buddy the 7-year-old German shepherd from Staten Island, New York has passed away. Buddy was the first dog diagnosed with the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States and passed away on July 11, according to National Georgraphic.

Buddy was diagnosed with the virus for three months before his passing. He began having difficulty breathing back in Mid-April just before his seventh birthday and then six weeks later he was officially diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2.

All About Buddy

Two veterinarians from National Geographic studied his medical records and revealed that Buddy also suffered from lymphoma, a type of cancer that could also explain some of the symptoms that he suffered from.

Prior to this report, Buddy’s identity and information about his case were not made public aside from his general vicinity and breed of dog. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a press release with the general details of Buddy’s case along with other animals that have gotten diagnosed. His original prognosis was that he was going to recover.

What His Family Had to Say

The Mahoney’s told Nat Geo that Buddy had never been sick and aside from the breathing problems, he developed thick mucus in his nose. Patrick was diagnosed with COVID-19 three weeks prior to Buddy’s symptoms. Doctors believe that Buddy contracted it from Patrick. As the virus progressed, Buddy also suffered from weight loss and lethargy. An ultrasound showed that he had an enlarged spleen and liver along with a heart murmur.

“You tell people that your dog was positive, and they look at you [as if you have] ten heads,” Buddy’s owner, Allison Mahoney told the outlet. “[Buddy] was the love of our lives….He brought joy to everybody. I can’t wrap my head around it.”

The Mahoney family said that they were frustrated that they did not probe or examine connections between COVID and health problems. Allison’s husband, Robert Mahoney, contacted New York City veterinary health officials to see if they wanted more testing on Buddy. Robert said that they never contacted him further.

The New York City Department of Health told the outlet the reason that they did not ask for further testing was because of his anemia and that the blood test indicated that he was not still shedding the virus. Buddy was not tested after his second test on May 20.

Coronavirus and Animals

According to the USDA’s findings, the coronavirus symptoms for animals has been consistent and narrow. Almost all animals have mild symptoms and most recover. Animals are rarely infected with the virus, to begin with and when they do contract it, it’s almost always from an owner or human.

So far, the USDA has found that dogs, cats, lions, and tigers can contract the virus.