The First Dog With COVID-19 Has Died, And There's A Lot We Still Don't Know
April when buddies family I started to notice that something was a bright buddy started breathing really heavily, any hadn't mucus knows, and this was the first thing is family notice that you know the first sign that he was not himself. That's Natasha daily a wildlife reporter with National Geographic. Buddy was a German shepherd who Natasha says by his family's account was a very, very good boy. He loved running through sprinklers, Keitel's love like running and diving right into the lake. His family loved address them up for Halloween, is also photos of him in a bunny costume and you know he's just it looks like he's just grinning at the camera and so when buddies started getting sick this spring, just before his seventh birthday, his family, Robert Allison Mahoney and their daughter Juliana. While, they were worried I mean he'd be completely healthy, and then all of a sudden in the sprain he. started. Struggling to breathe and the first thing. I thought was he has the virus. Meaning the corona virus in the reason they thought that. They had also been sick. So specifically, Robert Mahoney, the husband had tested positive Alison Mahoney. Robert's wife had not been tested, but she was showing symptoms. So she had it to. The daughter Juliana who's thirteen tested negative. But when it came to getting buddy attest, that was a lot harder. But he's regular vet wasn't seeing patients. The Vet significantly said, there's no, he has like just you know there's no way and he prescribed the antibiotics over the phone. Another vets gave buddy ultrasound and x rays. But also didn't think he could have the krona virus remember no dog had yet tested positive in the US. And many vets didn't have the tests for animals anyway. But one day. Robert, Mahoney sister saw facebook post about a vet where they lived on. Staten. Island that had just gotten some test kits. Robert. was like great like let me call right now. Get down there, make an appointment, and so he was able to make an appointment for ten PM on a Friday. So it was a very strange time, but it was the clinic was really busy, and so it was the the first law they had available. That was Friday. May Fifteenth a full month after he started showing symptoms a few days later, but he finally got test that revealed. He was positive. This was a huge deal. Buddy was the first dog in the US known to have the virus and the USDA announced the news in a press release on June second. Buddy wasn't named in that press release. The government only identified his breed. In fact, we only know the details of his story because of Natasha's reporting. The USDA said in. June, that quote the dog is expected to make a full recovery. But Buddy didn't get better. He got more and more sick in June. It. All came to a head one weekend in July. And a warning that the details coming up are pretty tough to hear. So Allison. Came downstairs the morning of July eleventh and found buddy in the kitchen in a pool of modeled flood He was throwing up blood. It was coming from his nose. It was just horrific and devastating for the family, and at that point, they brought him into the vet and the decision was made to euthanize him which was obviously really really difficult on top of two and a half months of stress and confusion that the family had already been through thirteen dogs and eleven cats have tested positive in the US for cove nineteen according to public. Records and while those numbers sound small, they raise big questions about how virus can affect people and their pets. Today's episode. Natasha. Daily on why. Some of those questions are still so hard to answer. Allison Mooney said to me that you tell someone that your dog tested positive for Cova. Did they'd look at you like you had ten heads. You know there's no rubric for navigating covert in your pet. I'm Emily Quang and you're listening to shortwave the daily science podcast from NPR. First off the current CDC guidance that there is no evidence that pets can transmit the coronavirus to humans, and that's partially why testing for animals isn't more widespread. We do need to say to that test for animals are different than the test used to detect the virus in humans. All animal tests are processed in different labs are processed in veterinary labs. Not, there's no overlap between human testing and animal testing. So. While some of the mechanics of the tests may be the same. It's not at all taking resources away from humans. But because a covid positive animal isn't seen as a danger to humans, there's been very little scientific study of how the virus can affect those pets or even how it can interact with other diseases are pets may have. That's where we're going to pick up buddy story with an Tasha daily. Yes. So new blood work was taken on July tenth the day before a buddy died, and it was on July eleventh when the Mahoney's brought buddy in. To essentially be euthanized that they found the results of that blood work on and the blood work indicated that he very very likely had lymphoma, which is kind of cancer, right? Yes. Lymphoma is a type of cancer So I I asked a couple of veterinarians who were not involved in buddies case at all to review his full records and they said that, yes, every single one of the symptoms he had could be explained by lymphoma, you know A. A big open question is deity SARS Yovany to present clinically in buddies body, and what that means is did the virus cause any symptoms? For example, the trouble breathing was, and so I think it's it's tough and we'll never have an answer to this was every single. One of his symptoms are the lymph, Oma? Or was some of it, the COVID and the breakdown of fat isn't something that we have an answer to, and you also pose the question. Will. We won't know whether the cancer made them more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus exactly, and that's sort of a big takeaway from his case You know our dogs or cats with underlying conditions like cancer as it turns out. More likely to contract the virus because we know humans are humans It's thought that humans that have suppressed immune systems maybe more likely to contract the virus, but not only that maybe the virus may be more likely to present in ways that are more significant in their bodies if if they're already immuno-compromised. So the same question remains for animals and we just have so little data to investigate it.