North Carolina Dog Dead from 'Acute Illness' Tests Positive for COVID-19, Health Officials Say

The dog was brought by its owner to the NC State Veterinary Hospital on Aug. 3 after "demonstrating signs of respiratory distress"

North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine
North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Photo: Allen G Breed/AP/Shutterstock

The first dog to test positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in North Carolina has died.

On the evening of Aug. 3, the dog was brought to the NC State Veterinary Hospital after the pet's owner observed the canine "demonstrating signs of respiratory distress", the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) said in a press release.

Shortly after the dog died due to its "acute illness," the owner informed the veterinary hospital that a member of the family had previously tested positive for COVID-19 but later tested negative.

Staff members then collected samples from the animal to be tested for the coronavirus. The samples were sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories, where it was confirmed that the dog had COVID-19.

The family, along with state health officials from NCDHHS and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, were immediately notified of the positive result.

State veterinarian Dr. Doug Meckes said in the NCDHHS' statement that there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread from dogs to humans or other animals — which the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the American Veterinary Medical Association have all also stated.

"There is no indication at this time that dogs can transmit the virus to other animals, so there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare," Meckes said.

Early last month, the first dog to test positive for coronavirus in the United States, a German Shepherd named Buddy from Staten Island, died.

The positive COVID-19 results were confirmed by the New York City Department of Health on June 2, although additional testing performed 5 days later indicated that the virus was no longer present.

As of July 30, the USDA has reported that at least 12 dogs and 10 cats have tested positive for COVID-19, and that reported infections mostly occur "after close contact with people with COVID-19."

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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