First pet dog in the US to test positive for COVID-19 dies in New York City, family details his last days

NEW YORK – A Staten Island family described the last days of their dog, the first canine dog in the United States to test positive for COVID-19, in an exclusive interview with National Geographic.

The Mahoneys say Buddy, their 6-year-old German Shepherd, started having trouble breathing in mid-April.

At Easter, Robert Mahoney received the call confirming that he had tested positive for the virus.

He had been dealing with symptoms for weeks and during that time Buddy developed thick mucus in his nose and began to breathe heavily.

The family says so little was known about the virus in animals and that much of the response focused on saving human lives that it was difficult to get Buddy tested.

While searching for a vet to examine him for COVID-19, Buddy’s condition continued to deteriorate.

They say he lost weight and became lethargic.

Buddy received antibiotics and then steroids after other tests detected a heart murmur.

It took the family a month, but Bay Street Animal Hospital finally agreed to give Buddy a test, which came back positive.

The other family dog, a 10-month-old German Shepherd named Duke, was also examined.

Their results were negative.

Additional tests just five days later showed that the virus was no longer in Buddy’s system, although it did have the antibodies, confirming that it had had the virus.

However, even after his diagnosis, Buddy continued to get worse.

The Mahoneys say that every two weeks a new problem would arise; She could no longer control her bladder and her urine was bloody, her breathing became much heavier, and then she had trouble walking.

On the morning of July 11, Allison Mahoney found Buddy in the kitchen pouring out coagulated blood.

“It looked like his guts were coming out. He had it all. It came out of his nose and mouth. We knew there was nothing he could do for him from there. What are you going to do for a dog with this? But he had the will to live. He didn’t want to go, “Allison told National Geographic.

She and her husband took Buddy to the vet and made the decision to slaughter him.

A new blood test the day Buddy was euthanized showed that he probably had lymphoma, a type of cancer.

The family says the most confusing part of all was the fact that no one seemed interested in learning about Buddy’s death or studying what role COVID-19 played, considering the few cases that had been confirmed in animals.

National Geographic also notes that Buddy’s death highlights the fact that animal testing reporting is not mandatory and not widely shared, therefore there is currently not enough data to know whether, for example, like humans, Animals with pre-existing conditions are more likely to contract the virus.

The Mahoneys say they trust the Bay Street team did their best for Buddy.

“I think they are also learning. It is all trial and error. And they tried to help us in the best possible way,” Allison told National Geographic.

The Mahoneys decided to incinerate Buddy and hope to collect his ashes this week.

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