The second case of a dog testing positive for coronavirus has occurred once again in Hong Kong, causing further confusion over whether or not animals are able to spread the virus to humans. According to South China Morning Post, oral and nasal swabs from a two-year-old German shepherd in Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong confirmed that the dog has in fact tested positive for COVID-19. The puppy, whose owner had previously tested positive for the virus, was placed in quarantine at a government facility earlier this week, along with another dog from the owner’s residence. Thus far, the other dog is not currently infected with coronavirus.
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“We will also follow up on the mixed-breed dog, but it has tested negative.” said Professor Malik Peiris of University of Hong Kong, who added that the plan now is to conduct blood tests. A 17-year-old Pomeranian was the first dog to reported to have tested “weak positive” for COVID-19. The dog later died after upon its release from quarantine, but it was widely believed that the dog’s age and “underlying illnesses” were the primary factors, rather than the virus.
“It is very likely that the two positive cases [in Hong Kong] are examples of human-to-dog transmission,” Professor Peiris, who is also a public health virologist at the university, noted. These cases have furthered confusion regarding animals and specifically pets in regards to the global pandemic. The CDC has recommended, however, that, “if you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed), you should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people.” While they have no evidence to suggest that pets are able to spread COVID-19, it is better to be safe than sorry.