NYC Family Dog Dies Weeks After Becoming America’s First Confirmed Canine Covid Case

A family’s beloved 7-year-old German shepherd dog “Buddy” was euthanized earlier this month, 41 days after becoming the first confirmed canine case of COVID-19 in the United States. Buddy’s owners, Allison and Robert Mahoney of Staten Island, New York, have provided a gut-wrenching account of what they and Buddy endured during his final weeks, which was published yesterday evening by National Geographic, can be read in full here.

Of the 12 dogs that are now confirmed as positive for the virus in the United States, three of those dogs have died within three months of testing positive, yet still relatively little is known about each dog, now with the exception of Buddy; there is still much to glean from Buddy’s case, as well as the others.

When America’s fourth confirmed canine case of coronavirus was announced on July 1 in Georgia, TCR made a series of inquiries seeking details from Georgia’s Department of Public Health after that department announced in its press release that the young dog with coronavirus had been euthanized.

Georgia DPH spokesperson Nancy Nydam told TCR that the dog’s cause of death was a brain tumor, and not coronavirus. “The final necropsy results confirm the dog’s cause of death was a brain tumor,” Nydam wrote in an email to TCR in early July. “The other dog in the home is not ill and tested negative for SARS-CoV-2,” Nydam added.

But when asked to provide the necropsy report, Nydam declined, saying, “DPH did not do the necropsy, so the report is not something we can provide.” A necropsy can cost upwards of several thousand dollars but Nydam also would not comment when asked whether the state paid for the necropsy.

And, in South Carolina, where the sixth dog in America was confirmed to have contracted the virus, that dog also died, though the state veterinarian attributed the cause of death there to an unnamed underlying chronic condition.

National Geographic reports that Allison and Robert Mahoney say it bothers them that New York City veterinary health officials did not appear to take interest in Buddy’s case. However, the New York City Department of Health told National Geographic that the reason it chose not to conduct further tests on Buddy was “because Buddy was severely anemic, it did not want to collect additional blood out of concern for the dog’s health.”