A German shepherd, 'Buddy', which was the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus infection in a pet dog in the US has died, according to a report.
In June, the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) had announced the dog being the first pet in the US testing positive for the virus SARS-CoV-2 behind the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to the dog showing signs, one of its owners, Robert Mahoney, had tested positive for COVID-19, and another had symptoms consistent with the virus.
The owners told National Geographic that Buddy developed breathing problems in mid-April after Mahoney had been sick with the novel coronavirus for several weeks.
According to the report, Buddy's health declined steadily after he developed breathing problems and thick nasal mucus in April, and he was euthanised on July 11 after he started vomiting clotted blood.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
While it is unknown whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus played a role in Buddy's death, blood tests indicated the dog may have had lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.
According to the USDA, there is currently no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the coronavirus.
However, the novel coronavirus may spread from people to animals in some situations.
The evidence for this was reported in a study of two dogs in Hong Kong, published in May in the journal Nature, showing evidence of infection with the virus.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.