A pet dog that was tested for the coronavirus in Hong Kong has died two days after it was released from quarantine.
The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) in Hong Kong said it was notified by the owner of the 17-year old Pomeranian that the dog had died on Monday.
While the dog initially tested “weak positive” for the virus, it showed no symptoms and was released from quarantine on Saturday after further tests produced negative results. The case had been closely watched by animal lovers worried that their pets may be vulnerable to the disease or become potential spreaders. The virus has killed more than 7,800 people worldwide.
The dog had been under quarantine since late February at an animal keeping facility at the Hong Kong Port of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
There were no other animals using the facility.
The owner, a 60-year-old woman, was confirmed to be infected and hospitalised on February 25th.
Reports say she has since recovered and returned home on March 8th.
The Heath Service Executive (HSE) has said there is “no evidence” that pets such as cats and dogs can catch or spread coronavirus.
Can Dogs Get Corona Virus?
The World Health Organization has stated, “While there has been one instance of a dog being infected in Hong Kong, to date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.”
How is canine coronavirus transmitted?
Most cases of canine coronavirus are contracted by oral contact with infected fecal matter. A dog may also become infected by eating from contaminated food bowls or by direct contact with an infected dog.
“Crowding and unsanitary conditions favor transmission.”
Crowding and unsanitary conditions lead to coronavirus transmission. The incubation period from ingestion to clinical signs is one to four days. The duration of illness is two to ten days in most dogs. Secondary infections by bacteria, parasites, and other viruses may develop and prolong illness and recovery. Dogs may be carriers of the disease for up to six months (180 days) after infection.
Can Veterinarians Test For COVID-19 In Pets?
The College of Veterinary Medicine’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory recently acquired the necessary equipment to screen for the current COVID-19 in dogs. They expect the veterinarians to have access to the check beginning on March 15.
Though the test may be available, it could be costly as there is a limited capacity at labs – some may also be at max capacity due to other demands.