Winston, a family pet pug, tested positive for COVID-19 in North Carolina, reportedly the first canine in the United States to have a confirmed case of the coronavirus.
Duke University made the discovery about Winston’s diagnosis while studying a family that lives in Chapel Hill, NBC reported.
Researchers tested the entire family, finding that the mother, father, son and pug tested positive. Their daughter was the only human in the house without the virus.
Winston is experiencing mild symptoms of coughing and loss of appetite.
“Pugs are a little unusual in that they cough and sneeze in a very strange way,” said Heather McLean, the mom. “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.”
According to the family, it makes sense that a man’s best friend would contract the virus. When it comes to dogs and humans, there is no real concept of social distancing.
Son Ben McLean said it was unsurprising given that Winston “licks all of our dinner plates and sleeps in my mom’s bed.”
Another dog and cat in the McLean household tested negative for the virus.
While there are no CDC guidelines on dog behavior such as plate-licking or co-sleeping specifically, the health organization chimes in on pets and the virus.
“At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19,” according to current guidelines.
“Treat pets as you would other human family members — do not let pets interact with people or animals outside the household. If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets.” — CDC website
The CDC recognizes that more research is needed to study how the coronavirus can spread between humans and animals as a part of the outbreak.
The McLeans hope their pet’s diagnosis will be able to aid researchers in the fight against COVID-19.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.
Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.