Since the outbreak of the pandemic, there have been confirmed infections in the United States of a tiger, a lion and two pet cats. Two dogs tested positive in Hong Kong, but there had been no confirmed dog infections in the United States.
The dog, a German shepherd in New York, is expected to recover.
There was a false alarm in April, when a low amount of the virus was detected in the saliva of Winston, a pug in North Carolina. But the U.S.D.A. laboratory performed its own tests on Winston and released the results on May 27. “No virus was isolated, and there was no evidence of an immune response,” said Joelle Hayden, a U.S.D.A. spokeswoman.
This time, the German shepherd in New York tested positive at the U.S.D.A.’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories.
One of the dog’s owners has tested positive for coronavirus, and the dog had shown some signs of respiratory illness, the U.S.D.A. said. That prompted testing at a private veterinary facility, and the presumptive positive results were reported to government officials.
Those results were confirmed using swabs as well as blood tests for antibodies.
Another dog in the German shepherd’s household had shown no symptoms but was also tested and found to have coronavirus antibodies, suggested it had been exposed to the virus.
In its statement on Tuesday, the U.S.D.A noted that “there is currently no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus,” and the risk of animals passing it to humans is considered to be low. It would appear that people with Covid-19 can spread the virus to their pets if they are in close contact, but routine testing for animals is not recommended.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pets, like humans, should be isolated from members of their household who get sick. There is no need for them to be outfitted with face coverings or wiped down with disinfectants.