The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has reported another SARS-CoV-2 positive dog. Similar to the first positive dog, the 2-year-old German Shepherd is from a household with an infected owner and, as per Hong Kong’s current approach, was quarantined and then tested. Like the last dog, this is thought to be another case of human-to-animal transmission. The other dog in the house is also under quarantine, but was negative on the first test. Presumably both dogs will be tested again. The dogs are both healthy, but the risk the positive dog poses to other animals and people is unclear.
Given the very limited testing of animals that has been done, we still don’t know the scope of the potential issues. We’re set up to test animals here if necessary, but we haven’t collected samples from any animals in positive households. More testing of exposed animals as part of organized surveillance studies is needed to properly assess the risks, but the fact that there were two positive dogs from a relatively small sample of animals in Hong Kong means we need to pay attention to this issue.
The article also mentions four cats under quarantine at the same facility in Hong Kong, but there is no mention of whether or not they have been tested (hopefully the answer is yes and that they were negative).
In a further update on the first positive dog, a 17-year-old Pomeranian, it tested negative for the COVID-19 virus on March 12 and March 13, and was therefore released from quarantine on March 14. Sadly, three days later the owner reported the dog had died. Although post mortem testing was not performed as per the owner’s wishes, the dog never showed any signs of illness potentially related to COVID-19 and the elderly dog had other underlying medical conditions as well, so it’s considered highly unlikely that the virus had anything to do with the dog’s death (although the stress from being quarantined for two weeks could have certainly been a contributing factor).