The first dog to be diagnosed with the coronavirus in the US has died. Buddy, 7, had tested positive in April in Staten Island, National Geographic reports. The family pet "was the love of our lives," Allison Mahoney said. "I can’t wrap my head around it." Few details of Buddy's case had been released since the announcement that he was infected early last month. But two veterinarians who reviewed the German shepherd's medical records said he probably suffered from lymphoma, as well, which the family didn't know he had. The vets said the relationship between the illnesses is not clear; the cancer might have made the dog more vulnerable to the virus, or it might be the virus that made him ill. Not much is known about how the virus affects animals; a USDA site lists confirmed cases.
The Mahoneys described a frustrating ordeal, per National Geographic. "You tell people that your dog was positive, and they look at you [as if you have] 10 heads," Allison Mahoney said. With fewer than 25 pets known to have confirmed cases of the virus, the family and records on Buddy could increase understanding of the toll on animals. Mahoney's husband, who also had contracted the coronavirus, first suspected Buddy had the same problem when the dog began breathing heavily in April. "Without a shadow of a doubt, I thought [Buddy] was positive," Robert Mahoney said. The family took the pet to three vets before finding one who'd give Buddy a coronavirus test. Even after Buddy died, his vet couldn't get health departments interested in running tests to learn about the illness. (A cat in Britain just tested positive.)