Buddy, a 7-year-old German shepherd from Staten Island, New York, who was the first dog to test positive for the coronavirus in the United States, died on July 11 after a three-month illness, according to National Geographic.
It’s unclear whether Buddy died from complication of the coronavirus, which he most likely caught from his owner Robert Mahoney -- who tested positive this spring -- or if he died from lymphoma.
Two veterinarians who were not part of his treatment, but who reviewed Buddy’s medical records for National Geographic, told the publication that the dog probably had cancer.
Contracting the virus: The dog got sick in April and Mahoney suspected he had the virus, but it wasn’t until mid-May that the family finally found a vet who would test him and who confirmed Buddy was infected.
“You tell people that your dog was positive, and they look at you [as if you have] ten heads,” owner and Robert Mahoney’s wife, Allison, told the magazine.
By June 2, the US Department of Agriculture confirmed Buddy was the first dog to test positive for the coronavirus in the US.
Some context: Fewer than 25 dogs and cats are confirmed to be infected with coronavirus in the US, according to the USDA.
There is no mandatory testing requirement for animals living in homes with Covid-19 positive people so it’s unknown how many pets in the US may be infected and whether those with underlying health conditions, similar to humans, may be at higher risk.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does offer guidance for caring for a pet with Covid-19, but it doesn’t include information about testing or information collection for veterinarians, as there’s still no solid data on how the virus affects pets.