Samples taken from a dog that passed away in Jersey have confirmed that the family pet caught the virus that causes covid-19 before it died.
Chief Veterinary Officer Alistair Breed reported the finding to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) – the animal equivalent of WHO - this week.
There have only been a small number of similar cases around the world.
The dog, who had a number of underlying conditions and was living in a household with someone with covid, collapsed and was taken to the vets on 9 July. It did not respond to any treatment and was put down later that day.
A veterinary surgeon swabbed the pet for covid, and the PCR test was sent to a private lab. When it came back positive, the vet notified Jersey's Government.
The UK's Animal and Plant Health Agency tested the original sample again, and received another positive result. Further analyses was carried out and the covid diagnosis was officially confirmed on Monday (23 August).
Jersey's Chief Vet reported the finding to the OIE on Tuesday.
The OIE concluded that there was "sufficient evidence" that the pup had contracted covid, most likely from a member of its household, but not whether it was "clinically affected" by the virus. Its other underlying conditions were described as "significant."
“It is sad when a beloved pet is lost in any circumstances and although this dog tested positive for covid-19 virus, it died of other causes," Mr Breed said.
He went on to describe the case as "isolated", adding: “Please be reassured that there is no evidence that pets transmit the disease to humans, and that it is safe to keep pets in the home.
“In line with the general advice on preventing infection, you should wash your hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals. Please get in touch with your private vet if you have any concerns about the welfare or health of your pets.
“There is no change to Public Health risk as a result of this case.”
It follows warnings from New Era Vets of a “highly contagious” respiratory illness of unknown origin circulating among dogs on the island. New Era said dogs showing symptoms should isolate and that their direct contacts should be informed.
However, Express understands that this is not linked.
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