Buddy, a 7-year-old German shepherd from Staten Island, New York, who was the first dog to test positive for coronavirus in the United States, died on July 11 after a three-month illness, according to National Geographic.
It is unclear whether Buddy died of a coronavirus complication, which was likely caught by owner Robert Mahoney – who tested positive in the spring – or whether he died of lymphoma.
Two veterinarians who were not part of his treatment, but who reviewed Buddy̵7;s medical records for National Geographic, told the publication that the dog probably had cancer.
Virus contractors: The dog fell ill in April and Mahoney suspected he had the virus, but it wasn’t until mid-May that the family finally found a veterinarian who would test him and confirmed that Buddy was infected.
“You tell people that your dog was positive, and they look at you [as if you have] ten heads, ”Robert Mahoney’s owner and wife, Allison, told the magazine.
By June 2, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed that Buddy was the first dog to test positive for coronavirus in the United States.
Some context: Less than 25 dogs and cats are confirmed to be infected with coronavirus in the United States, according to the USDA.
There is no need for mandatory testing for animals living in households with Covid-19 positive people and therefore it is unknown how many pets in the United States can be infected and whether those with underlying health conditions, similar to humans, may be at higher risk.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers guidance for the care of pets with Covid-19, but does not include information on testing or gathering information for veterinarians, as that there is still no solid data on how the virus affects pets.