NEW YORK, July 29 – Buddy, the first dog to test positive for coronavirus in the United States, died on July 11. His death highlights how little is yet known about the effects of COVID-19 disease in animals.
According to two National Geographic vets who reviewed Buddy’s medical history, the Mahoney family dog likely had lymphoma, a type of cancer. This disease would explain the symptoms he suffered just before his death, although it is not clear if cancer made them more susceptible to getting coronavirus or if it was just a coincidence.
Buddy’s identity, the details of his case, and his death were not public information. The US Department of Agriculture revealed in early June a press release general location (Staten Island, New York), the probable source of transmission; an owner who had tested positive for COVID and state recovery expected. In general, there is not much public data on infected animals.
The experience of the Mahoney family in the two and a half months that passed since Buddy began with breathing problems until he died was one of confusion and suffering, according to the aforementioned chain. There is practically no information on how to manage the disease in a pet since there are few in the world diagnosed with COVID-19. In the US they are less than 25 compared to more than four million people.
“You tell people your dog tested positive and they look at you like [you have] 10 heads,” said Allison Mahoney. “[Buddy] was the love of our lives … He brought joy to everyone. I can not understand it”.
The Mahoneys say they are frustrated that health experts did not further investigate possible connections between COVID and their pet’s health problems. Robert Mahoney, Allison’s husband, assures that the veterinary health officials who were in charge of the case never asked for more evidence, although he asked them himself.
The New York City Department of Health told National Geographic that it did not want to draw more blood from the dog because it had severe anemia. Furthermore, according to the agency, the results indicated that there was little chance that Buddy was transmitting the virus. The last time he was evaluated was on May 20, almost two months before his death.