Patient’s dog tests positive for coronavirus, quarantined in Hong Kong

Published: Updated:
Dr. Sharon Powell, a veterinarian in Southwest Florida.

As humans throughout the world grapple with the widespread outbreak of the novel coronavirus, a pet dog has been found to have a “low level” of the virus, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong’s agriculture, fisheries and conservation department said in a statement Friday. Dogs, cats and other mammals owned as pets by confirmed coronavirus patients must now undergo a 14-day quarantine, the spokesperson added.

The department said the dog, whose owner was infected with coronavirus, tested “weak positive” for COVID-19 virus after its nasal and rectal samples were collected for testing earlier this week.

“The nasal and oral cavity samples were tested weak positive to COVID-19 virus,” the department’s statement read. “The dog does not have any relevant symptoms.”

Despite the preliminary test result on the animal, there is no evidence to suggest pets could be infected or be a source of infection for humans, according to the statement. The department will undergo further testing on the dog to see if it’s really been infected with the virus or a result of “environmental contamination” of its mouth and nose.

Dr. Sharon Powell, a veterinarian at Fort Myers Edison Park Animal Hospital, is stunned by the news coming out of Hong Kong.

“Right now, we’re not sure if that dog is actually infected with [coronavirus] or if it was carrying the RNA virus on its fur and was just contaminated,” Powell told WINK News. The concern as a veterinarian, we don’t want the public to panic because there’s already reports coming out of Russia that some people are killing stray dogs and cats because they’re concerned of the threat.”

Powell does not advise anyone to go to those measures. The American Veterinary Medical Association says pets and other domestic animals are not considered at risk for COVID-19, so anything besides your normal pet care.

“I think it’s an irrational way to deal with this at this stage,” Powell said.

At the moment, officials said it’s the only dog under quarantine at the animal-keeping facility at Hong Kong Port of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.

CBS News’ Grace Qi reports veterinarians in Hong Kong are also calling for calm after the “weak positive” case was announced. Experts said it’s very unlikely that pets such as dogs and cats could be infected with the coronavirus, as very few viruses can jump between species.

The global death toll for people with the virus was over 2,800 and more than 83,000 cases of the COVID-19 disease have now been confirmed in more than 50 countries.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.