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 not known whether Buddy died of a complication of the coronavirus, which he likely caught from his owner Robert Mahoney – who tested positive this spring – or whether he died of lymphoma.
Two vets who were not part of his treatment, but who reviewed Buddy’s medical records for National Geographic, told the publication the dog likely had cancer.
Get the virus: 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 vet who would test him and who confirmed Buddy was infected.
“You tell people your dog was positive and they look at you [as if you have] ten heads, ”owner and Robert Mahoney’s wife, Allison, told the magazine.
On June 2, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed Buddy was the first dog to test positive for coronavirus in the United States.
A little background: Fewer than 25 dogs and cats are confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus in the United States, according to the USDA.
There is no mandatory testing requirement for animals living in homes with people positive for Covid-19, so it is not known how many pets in the United States may be infected and if which ones have underlying health issues, similar to humans, may be at greater risk.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers advice for caring for a pet with Covid-19, but it does not include information on testing or collecting information for vets because there is still no solid data on how the virus affects pets.