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Coronavirus news and updates about the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Triangle Canine Tests Positive For COVID-19, First Known Case In US

Winston, the McLean family pet, became the first dog to test positive for COVID-19.
Winston, the McLean family pet, became the first dog to test positive for COVID-19.
Winston, the McLean family pet, became the first dog to test positive for COVID-19.
Credit Heather McLean / c/o Duke University
Winston, the McLean family pet, became the first dog to test positive for COVID-19.

A dog belonging to a family in the Triangle has tested positive for COVID-19. It's the first known case of the coronavirus infecting a dog in the United States.

The family is participating in a research study by Duke Health that is working on developing diagnostic tests for the earliest stages of COVID-19, among other things. Researchers usually test all members of a participating household, including pets.

Three of the four human family members had tested positive for COVID-19, so researchers tested their three animals, including their pug, Winston. The pug had previously been exhibiting mild symptoms, including coughing, wheezing and a lack of appetite.

Lead study researcher Doctor Chris Woods said there's still little known about COVID-19 in household animals, but he doesn't think people should worry about their pets.

"I don't believe we're putting them at particular risk when we're infected and they're in the household or similarly I don't believe that they would pose any particular risk to others," said Woods.

Winston, the McLean family pet, became the first dog to test positive for COVID-19.
Credit Heather McLean / c/o Duke University
Winston, the McLean family pet, became the first dog to test positive for COVID-19.

Woods points out that the few studies that have been published so far about COVID-19 in household pets suggest fairly low rates of contracting the infection, although most studies focus on cats and not dogs.

Woods says his team has tested nine animals for COVID-19 and this is the only case to come back positive so far. The pug's symptoms have already resolved.

He recommends families practice good hygiene and disinfectant surfaces often while at home.

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