Dog in Georgia tests positive for virus that causes COVID-19

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Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health(DPH) in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is confirming SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in a pet dog. This is only the second dog known to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the United States.

The 6-year-old mixed breed dog developed sudden onset of neurological illness which progressed rapidly over the course of a couple of days, and was humanely euthanized. The owners of the dog recently tested positive for COVID-19, but the dog did not have any evidence of respiratory disease. Out of an abundance of caution, a SARS-CoV-2 test was performed on the dog. The presumptive positive result was confirmed by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory. While the dog did test positive for SARS-CoV-2, the progressive neurological illness was caused by another condition.

SARS-CoV-2 testing was also performed on a second dog in the household with no signs of acute illness; results are pending.

While little is known about SARS-CoV-2 infection in animals, they are not thought to be a source of infection for humans. People who test positive for COVID-19 should take precautions if they have pets in the household.

  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with your pet including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, sharing food, and sleeping in the same bed.
  • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.

For more information on COVID-19 and animals please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/animals.html.

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