A dog in North Carolina that tested positive for COVID-19 has died, health officials announced Wednesday.
On Aug. 3, the dog’s owner brought the animal to the NC State Veterinary Hospital, stating that the dog was showing signs of respiratory distress earlier that same day. The dog died later that evening, according to a news release from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
The dog was a male Newfoundland and was about 8 years old, Mick Kulikowski, a spokesman for the university, told the Charlotte Observer.
The owner told the animal hospital’s staff that a family member was diagnosed with COVID-19, but had since recovered.
After learning about the ill family member, staff collected samples from the dog and sent them to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) to be tested for COVID-19. When the samples returned, it was confirmed that the dog had the novel coronavirus prior to its death.
The official cause of death for the dog is still under investigation, the news release said.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in June that dogs, cats and a few other animals types are able to contract COVID-19, it is rare for animals to pass it on to their owners or vice versa.
“Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low,” the CDC said. “More studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.”
State Veterinarian Dr. Doug Meckes said that “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.”
Pet owners can follow the CDC’s guidelines for keeping their companion animals safe in the event someone in their household becomes infected with COVID-19.
- Wash your hands after handling animals, their food, waste, or supplies.
- Practice good pet hygiene and clean up after pets properly.
- Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s health.
- Be aware that children 5 years of age and younger, people with weakened immune systems, and older adults are more likely to get sick from germs some animals can carry.
FOX News contributed to this report.