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Louisiana officials confirm state's first case of dog with coronavirus

Tobbee Mandesh.

Aug. 04, 2020

Officials in Louisiana said Tuesday that a dog a tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the first known instance of an animal contracting the disease in the state.
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry said in a statement that it appeared people with COVID-19 can spread "the virus to animals during close contact." The department did not offer details on the dog or how it contracted the virus, but said that current evidence suggests there's little risk dogs could spread it to humans.
“Initially, it was believed pets could not get the disease, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now learning that animals can be infected,” Commissioner Mike Strain said.
"It is important for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to avoid contact with pets and other animals to protect them from possible infection," Strain added. "At this time, routine testing of animals is not recommended.”
A small number of pets, including cats and dogs, have contracted COVID-19 in multiple countries. The CDC said in guidance posted on its website that more studies are needed to determine how the virus impacts animals. The agency said that it appears people can spread it to animals in some situations, but that it's rare for the opposite to take place.
"We know that cats, dogs, and a few other types of animals can be infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but we don’t yet know all of the animals that can get infected," the CDC said.
The Bronx Zoo reported in May that several tigers and lions contracted COVID-19. The Wildlife Conservation Society said at the time that the big cats were infected by a staff person who was asymptomatic. The first dog to test positive for the virus in the U.S. died last month.
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