The first dog in the United States has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories announced Tuesday that a pet German shepherd has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the viruses that cause COVID-19, making the dog the first such confirmed case.


“Samples from the dog were taken after it showed signs of respiratory illness,” the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said in a news release. “The dog is expected to make a full recovery. One of the dog’s owners tested positive for COVID-19, and another showed symptoms consistent with the virus, prior to the dog showing signs. A second dog in the household has shown no signs of illness; however, antibodies were also identified in that dog, suggesting exposure.”

A photo of the dog was not released.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is a small risk of people with COVID-19 spreading the virus to animals. Those who have tested positive or suspect they have the coronavirus should avoid contact with pets and other animals. If a person must care for their pet while sick, they should wear a face covering and wash their hands before and after interacting with them.

In the case of the German shepherd, the USDA said that the testing of the dog did not affect the number of tests available to humans. 

“We are still learning about SARS-CoV-2 in animals, but there is currently no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus,” the release said. “Based on the limited information available, the risk of animals spreading the virus to people is considered to be low. There is no justification in taking measures against companion animals that may compromise their welfare.”

The German shepherd will join a lion, a tiger and two cats on the USDA’s list of animals that have tested positive for the coronavirus in the U.S.

According to research, cats and ferrets are easily infected by the coronavirus and dogs had low susceptibility.

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