German Shepherd In Hong Kong Is Second Dog To Test Positive For Covid-19
Earlier this month, a pomeranian in Hong Kong was the first dog to have tested positive for Covid-19.
We’ve been hoping that our furry friends can’t catch the virus, but new evidence suggests that they could be vulnerable too.
On Friday (19 Mar), South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that a Covid-19 patient’s German Shepherd tested positive for the coronavirus. This is the second case of a “very likely” human-to-animal transmission.
Here’s what we know about this tragic discovery.
Second dog tests positive for Covid-19
A 30-year-old woman from Hong Kong’s Pok Fu Lam area was infected with Covid-19.
On Wednesday (18 Mar), her 2-year-old German Shepherd was quarantined in a government facility to prevent the spread of the virus.
Shortly after, Hong Kong’s animal welfare authority took the dog’s oral and nasal swabs for testing. Results revealed that the dog had the virus on Thursday (19 Mar).
The woman also owned a mixed breed dog which was sent to a quarantine facility. Fortunately, the dog tested negative for the coronavirus.
German Shepherd shows no symptoms yet
According to Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), both dogs did not show any symptoms for Covid-19.
An AFCD spokesman stated,
The department will continue to closely monitor both dogs and conduct repeated tests on the animals.
Professor Malik Peiris, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong, worked with the government to analyse the specimens. After 10 days, the dogs will get a blood test to verify these results. Testing at a later time will give antibodies a chance to develop.
It is very likely that the 2 positive cases [in Hong Kong] are examples of human-to-dog transmission.
He will also perform follow-ups on the mixed breed dog that tested negative.
First dog infected died
Back to the first dog, a Pomeranian, that tested a ‘weak positive’ for Covid-19 on 28 Feb.
The dog was allowed to return home after tests conducted on 12 to 13 Mar resulted in negative readings for Covid-19. But the dog died on Monday (16 Mar).
A medical source did not believe that the dog died from Covid-19.
The medical source told SCMP,
The dog did not develop any new symptoms after getting the virus [as it is just ‘weak positive’].
However, the owner declined an autopsy to determine the cause of the dog’s death.
Not enough evidence of human-to-animal transmission
Currently, there is not enough evidence that proves pet animals could infect humans with Covid-19. There is also no evidence of Covid-19 transmission between animals.
Nevertheless, pets owned by Covid-19 patients are under quarantine in separate rooms in Hong Kong.
Keep pets safe
We can’t confirm if pets can transmit Covid-19, but it is still best for infected patients who have pets to isolate themselves from their beloved furkids.
It may be hard – almost akin to being separated from a loved one – but it is for the greater good.
Proper hygiene for both animals and humans seems to be the best preventive measure against the virus. For now, let’s be socially responsible, practise good hygiene, and hope that this pandemic ends soon.
Featured image from Stocksy. Image for illustration purposes only.