After Pug Tests Positive, What Does Coronavirus Mean for Pets?

Howdy friends! We hope you are safe and well, and making the best out of a weird time.

There are certainly some spooky things going on, and there is a lot of information out there that may seem a little sensational, wacky, and downright dangerous! In light of all of the confusion and ineffective ‘home remedies,’ we wanted to be sure that our Fluff-Post Community has access to some solid information about a recent event in the time of Corona that deals with dogs and corona. Meet Winston, The Pug.

Aside from having the world’s largest tongue-to-body-size ratio, this sweet lil’ fella, may well be the first canine in the US to have tested positive for COVID-19. But experts say not to worry.

Winston is the youngest dog of the three fur-siblings (with an older pug, and a cat) of the McClean family. Of the four humans in the family, only three of them showed symptoms of COVID-19, while daughter, Sydney, never exhibited symptoms (not to say that she couldn’t transmit it).

The family found out about Winston’s condition when they participated in a study with Duke University. The study aims to discover treatments for the virus by studying samples from infected individuals, and attempting to consolidate any antibodies in the samples and fashion a vaccine. In order to understand how the virus spreads in households, the study also took samples from pets living infected households. Winston’s samples are the only ones which have returned positive. While not very many animals have been tested, he is believed to be the first dog in the states to exhibit symptoms. Two dogs quarantined in Hong Kong, and several large cats at The Bronx Zoo have also tested positive, yet the numbers of confirmed animal cases remain remarkably low, and mild.

While this all sounds, understandably, very scary, it is worthwhile to note that Winston’s samples show extremely low amounts of the virus. This means that he has very mild symptoms which, the researchers say, may actually be from something other than COVID. Ultimately, Winston is a cuddly fellow, who is unlikely to transmit the virus, particularly now as the family is out of quarantine.

CNN reports “experts have stressed that there is no evidence that pets play a part in transmitting coronavirus.” This is great news, considering that Chris Woods, the director of the Duke study, confirms what all pet families already know: that pets are a massively “important part of our ongoing mental health as we continue to…combat the pandemic.”

For those still wary of infection or transmission via pets, it is worthwhile to consider how “extremely rare [it is] for a virus to jump from an animal to a human” (Schaffner). The virus is also most viably passed via human-to-human contact, says Vanderbilt University professor of preventative medicine and infectious diseases, William Schaffner. Furthermore, he noted that in cases of COVID-19, “it’s not common for people to give it to their pets, nor has [anyone] ever gotten this virus from a pet.”

Winston appears to be a unique duck in all of this confusion, but thankfully, he and his family have come through it and are making efforts to help in the fight by donating plasma.

We are supremely grateful for the love and affection that this brave little fellow delivered to his sick family, and we’re super pumped that he has come through it with flying colours.

For any further questions about pets and COVID-19, Dr. Evan Antin, one of our fave veterinarians to follow on social media, has some more great information that is super easy to digest.

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