Coronavirus or Cancer? How did Buddy, First Dog in US to Test Covid-19 Positive, Die?

On June 2, the US Department of Agriculture confirmed Buddy as the first dog to have contracted coronavirus in the U.S.

Buddy, the first dog to have tested positive for COVID-19 in the U.S., has died. The seven-year-old German Shepherd was also possibly suffering from cancer. It is not sure if Buddy died of COVID-19 or other illnesses.

Buddy was a healthy dog owned by Robert and Allison Mahoney of Staten Island in New York. For the first time in seven years, Buddy started wheezing in April 2020. Robert was somehow sure that Buddy had contracted COVID-19 as he himself was suffering from the virus for weeks.

dogs coronavirus
Representational Image Pixabay

However, as Robert had tested positive neither he nor his wife could take Buddy to the veterinarian. Then their 13-year-old daughter Juliana was allowed to take Buddy for testing. Despite the fact that clinics were not open due to the coronavirus pandemic, they got Buddy tested in two clinics but did not find him COVID-19 positive. But as Buddy's health was deteriorating, they tried the third clinic Bay Street Animal Hospital where the doctors agreed to test Buddy for COVID-19.

Buddy Tests Positive For COVID-19

When the Mahoney family entered the clinic, the doctors and staff were ready wearing Hazmat suits and tested Buddy on May 15. In a couple of days, they got the result and Buddy in fact had contracted COVID-19, thus becoming the first dog in the U.S. to be tested positive for the virus.

Buddy was tested again on May 20 but the results were negative. So the veterinarians concluded that Buddy had recovered from the virus by the time he was tested the second time at the clinic, reported National Geographic. On June 2, the US Department of Agriculture confirmed Buddy as the first dog to have contracted coronavirus in the U.S.

Buddy's Condition Worsens, Family Decides to Euthanize

However, despite testing negative, Buddy was not getting better. Instead, he started losing weight and by the beginning of June, he was not even able to eat anything. On July 11, he was found vomiting clotted blood and was very weak. The Mahoney family took him to the Bay Street Animal Hospital again with a heavy heart.

On July 11 when the family decided to euthanize Buddy, the veterinarians told that the latest test had indicated that Buddy was suffering from lymphoma. Most of the symptoms Buddy had from April did match the diagnosis of cancer. However, the family is not sure if coronavirus played any role in worsening the condition of their pet dog, resulting in his death.

According to the National Geographic, after euthanizing Buddy, Robert had asked New York City veterinary health officials if they wanted to conduct further tests to study the problem in detail, but there was no positive response in this regard. However, the New York City veterinary health officials told the National Geographic that by the time they had got permission from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for further tests the Buddy was cremated.

According to USDA, U.S. has reported 12 dogs, 10 cats, a tiger and a lion testing positive for COVID-19. Among the 12 dogs the second dog to test positive in Georgia and the sixth dog in South California have died. However, reports claim that both the dogs died of different ailments and not COVID-19.