Georgia dog tests positive for virus that causes COVID-19

AJC File photo

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AJC File photo

A Georgia dog is believed to be the second in the country to positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, the state Department of Public Health said Wednesday.

The owners of the 6-year-old mixed breed dog tested positive for the coronavirus, the DPH said. But the dog did not have any evidence of respiratory disease.

The animal did have a sudden onset of neurological illness, which progressed quickly over a matter of days, health officials said. The dog was humanely euthanized.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: The coronavirus in Georgia

“Out of an abundance of caution, a SARS-CoV-2 test was performed on the dog, the DPH said. “The presumptive positive result was confirmed by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory. While the dog did test positive for SARS-CoV-2, the progressive neurological illness was caused by another condition.”

The state DPH worked in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to confirm the case.

A second dog in the home was also tested, but those results are pending. That dog was not showing any symptoms, health officials said.


The first U.S. case of an animal testing positive for COVID-19 was a tiger at a NY zoo, according to the CDC. A small number of pet cats have tested positive for the virus, which was also discovered in mink on multiple farms in the Netherlands, the CDC said.

On June 2, the USDA said a German shepherd in New York state was the first in the U.S. to test positive for the coronavirus.

Despite the animals that have tested positive, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the CDC.


People who test positive for COVID-19 should take precautions if they have pets in the household, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

  • When possible, have another member of your household care for your pets while you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with your pet including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, sharing food, and sleeping in the same bed.
  • If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wear a cloth face covering and wash your hands before and after you interact with them.