South Carolina dog put down after testing positive for coronavirus: report

A dog in South Carolina had to be euthanized after it tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Clemson University on Thursday.

The canine was the first animal in South Carolina to be infected with COVID-19, said Dr. Boyd Parr, state veterinarian and director of Clemson Livestock Poultry Health (LPH).

Parr said a private veterinarian decided to test the 8-9-year-old shepherd mix for the virus after one of its owners was confirmed to have COVID-19. Veterinary findings determined the dog had a chronic health condition, which was the reason the animal was put down, he added.

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“Based on current knowledge, there continues to be no evidence that pets play a significant role in spreading SARS-CoV-2 to people,” Parr said. “It remains a good idea to restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you do with other people, if you are infected with COVID-19 in order to protect them from exposure to the virus.”

The dog is one of 13 animals in the U.S. — including one lion and one tiger — to test positive for COVID-19, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The animals mainly got sick after coming into close contact with people who had the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

The LPH and state health officials will continue to investigate the South Carolina canine case, along with the USDA and CDC “to assure any information relevant to COVID-19 is documented,” according to a release by the university. The dog was confirmed to have the coronavirus on July 9.

Even though a handful of animals have been reported to be infected with the virus in the U.S., the CDC has stated on its website that: “the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.”

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However, the agency said that until it learns more about how this virus affects animals — pet owners are advised to treat their animals as they would other human family members, in order to protect them from possibly being infected with the virus.

If infected or suspected to have the virus, the best practice is to have another member of the household take care of your pet, according to the agency. If that’s not possible, you should wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after interacting with them.

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“If you are sick with COVID-19 (either suspected or confirmed by a test), you should restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would with people,” the CDC said.

In the context of animal health, the novel coronavirus is referred to as SARS-CoV-2, according to the agency.