SARS-CoV-2 virus

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, has been confirmed for the first time in a dog in South Carolina, according to Boyd Parr, state veterinarian and director of Clemson Livestock Poultry Health.
Image Credit: U.S. Centers for Disease Control

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A Charleston County dog has been confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.

Dr. Boyd Parr, state veterinarian and director of Clemson Livestock Poultry Health (LPH), said a private veterinarian decided to test the dog – an 8- or 9-year-old shepherd mix – for SARS-CoV-2 after one of its owners was confirmed to have COVID-19.

Veterinary findings indicated the dog had a chronic health condition.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the virus in the dog July 9. Clemson LPH and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) continue to investigate this case with USDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assure any information relevant to COVID-19 is documented.

“Based on current knowledge, there continues to be no evidence that pets play a significant role in spreading SARS-CoV-2 to people,” Parr said. “It remains a good idea to restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you do with other people, if you are infected with COVID-19 in order to protect them from exposure to the virus as recommended by the CDC.”

The dog had to be euthanized due to his chronic condition, Parr said.

This is the first confirmed animal detection of SARS-CoV-2 in South Carolina. A list of all confirmed cases in the United States, tracked by USDA, can be viewed online: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/sa_one_health/sars-cov-2-animals-us.

Routine testing of animals is not recommended at this time. The CDC includes more information about testing animals on its website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/animals/animal-testing.html.

The decision to test an animal, including companion animals, livestock, and wild or zoo animals, should be made in consultation with and the approval of both appropriate state animal health and public health officials, according to the CDC.

For more information about the virus in animals and recommendations for pet owners, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/animals/pets-other-animals.html.

If you have questions about COVID-19, visit https://www.scdhec.gov/covid19.

Clemson LPH, a state regulatory agency, is part of the university’s Public Service and Agriculture unit. Its mission is to protect animal health by controlling endemic, foreign and emerging diseases in livestock and poultry and to protect the health of S.C. consumers by inspecting meat and poultry products to ensure they are safe, wholesome and accurately labeled.

Its Veterinary Diagnostic Center in Columbia assists veterinarians, the animal industry and animal owners by identifying diseases that affect livestock, poultry, companion animals and wildlife. The center is an integral part of a disease surveillance system that helps ensure a safe and adequate food supply and protects the health of South Carolinians.

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