The USDA has issued announced the first confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 infection in dog in the US. The affected dog was a German Shepherd from New York state, and unsurprisingly its owner had COVID-19. Interestingly, this dog did have signs of respiratory disease,  a finding that hasn’t been reported in dogs to date. It tested positive for the virus by PCR, and also had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Another dog in the household was healthy, but also had antibodies, indicating it had been infected too.

This case is noteworthy for a couple of reasons:

  • The positive dog was sick, though that still doesn’t necessarily mean the illness was due to the infection with SARS-CoV-2. The dog could have had other underlying disease due to some other cause.  Hopefully more information will come to clarify that. However, if this dog was sick because of SARS-CoV-2 infection, it would run contrary to the evidence to date that indicates dogs can be infected but don’t (typically) get sick.
  • Both dogs in the household were infected, even though only one got sick and tested positive by PCR.  The assumption has been that human-to-dog transmission is uncommon, and that still might be the case, but finding transmission to multiple dogs in a household is interesting.

Overall, it doesn’t really change our main talking points, but it highlights the need for more study.