Buddy, a 7-year-old German shepherd from Staten Island, New York, was the first dog to test positive for coronavirus in the United States. He died on July 11 after a three-month illness, according to National Geographic.
It is unclear whether Buddy died from complications of the coronavirus, which was likely caught by his owner, Robert Mahoney, who tested positive in the spring, or whether 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.
“It’s unclear whether the cancer made them more prone to getting the coronavirus, or whether the virus did it wrong, or whether it was just a case of coincidental time,” the report reported.
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 your dog was positive, and they look at you (as if you have) ten heads,” the magazine told Robert Mahoney’s owner and wife, Allison.
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.
“Sampling by the dog after it showed signs of respiratory disease,” the USDA reported at the time. “The dog is expected to make a full recovery.”
But this did not happen. Buddy’s health continued to deteriorate. By July 11, Allison Mahoney told National Geographic she found Buddy shedding blood.
“It looked like it was his insides coming out. He had everything. It came from his nose and mouth. We knew nothing of what could be done for him from there. What would you do for a dog with that? But he had the will to live. He didn’t want to go, “she said. The Mahoneys decided it was time to feed their beloved dog.
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 second dog that was positive in the United States, Georgia, and the sixth dog, in South Carolina, both died, for example, and their deaths were attributed to other conditions,” National Geographic reported. .
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 there are no solid data on how the virus affects pets.
The Mahoney family is heartbroken by the loss of Buddy, National Geographic reported, and frustrated by their struggle to diagnose and treat dogs.
“((Buddy) was the love of our lives. … He brought joy to everyone. I can’t wrap my head around him,” Allison Mahoney said).