COVID In Dogs: First Reported Case in Australia

COVID In Dogs: First Reported Case in Australia

Author WDF Staff


Australia’s Northern Territory senator says a dog from Darwin had a positive rapid antigen test and is responsible for the first reported case of Covid in dogs in Australia.

Sam McMahon, a veterinarian, is pleased with the accuracy of the results, but others doubt the reliability of the test.

Northern Territory Senator, Sam McMahon, says a dog from Darwin tested positive for Covid, the first case of the virus in dogs in Australia. McMahon is a qualified veterinarian and stated that the dog tested positive on a rapid antigen test.

Despite concerns about the reliability of the results of this animal test, McMahon said she was pleased with the accuracy.

The owners were diagnosed with Covid, and the dog started to have some symptoms, which were mostly a slight lethargy, coughing, and just not feeling 100% like herself. The owner told us that they did a rapid antigen test, and it was positive, so I asked how they performed the test. Based on the owner’s description, I concluded that everything was done correctly. It is very likely that this will be the first reported case in Australia. " Said McMahon.

black lab puppy

The senator said the dog spent a lot of time with its owner and was ill for four days before fully recovering.

McMahon also mentioned she suspects there are other unreported cases of Sars-CoV-2 in dogs.

"It's unusual, but there have been plenty of cases reported abroad that pets have been infected with Covid from the owner," she said.

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"It's quite possible that there have been other cases. Owners might have noticed their dog or cat has coughed a few times in a few days. However, people haven't actually attributed it to Covid and tested it."

But RSPCA Australia senior scientific officer, Dr. Sarah Zito, does not advise pet owners to use these tests on their animals.

"Due to the lack of evidence on the accuracy, reliability or safety of the use of human rapid antigen tests for animal testing for Sars-CoV-2, the use of these tests is currently not recommended."

Zito told the Guardian that testing for Covid in pets should be done "on the advice of human and animal health officials" and that affirmative testing should be carried out in case of a positive result.

dog and bug

She said dogs rarely get seriously ill from the virus but advised people to avoid their pets if they are positive.

Current evidence suggests that even if Sars-CoV-2 infects them, most infected dogs have no symptoms or develop just a mild illness. It may be possible for them to get seriously ill, but this seems to be rare. If you are infected with Sars-CoV-2, limit your contact with animals and other people, including your pets. Someone else should take care of all the animals, including your pets. "

The RSPCA says there is no vaccine for dogs because the disease only mildly affects them.

Zito added that there is no evidence that dogs or other animals can transmit the virus, only that humans can infect their pets.

"Current evidence shows that dogs shed minimal amounts of the virus.  It is believed they pose a very low risk of infecting other animals."

World Dog Finder team

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