A North Carolina pug has tested positive for COVID-19 and is believed to be the first dog in the United States to contract the virus.
"They all came out to our house and did blood samples," said family matriarch Heather McLean, who is a pediatrician at the university. "For the humans, they swabbed our noses as well as our mouths, and for the animals they did oral swabs for both dogs and the cat."
Heather and her husband first started feeling mild symptoms in March. They initially believed it was allergies until the symptoms started to slightly worsen.
While Winston didn’t exhibit any severe symptoms, the family did notice he had an unusual cough and had lost his appetite.
"Pugs are a little unusual in that they cough and sneeze in a very strange way," Heather added. "So it almost seems like he was gagging, and there was one day when he didn’t want to eat his breakfast, and if you know pugs you know they love to eat, so that seemed very unusual."
When the test results came back, Heather, her husband Samuel, her son Ben, and Winston all tested positive. Her daughter Sydney, another dog and cat tested negative.
After being ill for a few days, Winston and the family started feeling better. Heather added that their four-legged friend has recovered and “has been acting like himself,” reported USA Today.
While researchers believe Winston to be the first dog to test positive for coronavirus, he wasn’t the first household pet to get infected in America.
Last week, two cats tested positive for the novel coronavirus in New York.
Officials believe the animals became infected from people in their household or neighborhood.
Both the Department of Agriculture and CDC reiterated that while the virus appears to be transmittable from humans to animals, thus far there is no proof that animals can infect humans.
“We don’t want people to panic. We don’t want people to be afraid of pets,” said CDC official Casey Barton Behravesh. “There’s no evidence that pets are playing a role in spreading this disease to people.”