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First dog to test positive for COVID-19 in the U.S. has died

A German shepherd in New York that had the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a dog in the U.S. has died.

Robert and Allison Mahoney of Staten Island told National Geographic that their 7-year-old shepherd, Buddy, developed breathing problems in mid-April after Robert had been sick with the coronavirus for several weeks. A veterinarian tested Buddy in May and found him positive for the virus.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in June that a German shepherd in New York state was the first dog in the country to test positive for COVID-19, but did not identify the owners.

Buddy’s health declined steadily after he developed breathing problems and thick nasal mucus in April. He was euthanized on July 11 after he started vomiting clotted blood, the Mahoneys told National Geographic.

It’s unknown if the coronavirus played a role in his death. Blood tests indicated Buddy likely had lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system, veterinarians told the family.

A spokesman for the New York City Department of Health said arrangements were made to take the dog’s body for a necropsy but when the instructions were shared with the veterinarian, the body had already been cremated.

A USDA database of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in animals in the United States includes 12 dogs, 10 cats, a tiger and a lion. The agency says there is currently no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the coronavirus but it appears the virus can spread from people to animals in some situations.

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