UPDATE: Researchers have since found that pet cats and dogs cannot pass the new coronavirus on to humans, but they can test positive for low levels of the pathogen if they catch it from their owners.
HONG KONG (WDAF) – The dog of a person who contracted the novel coronavirus has also tested positive for the sickness, a Hong Kong official with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said.
The animal was picked up from a residential flat on Feb. 26, the same day that the pet’s owner was diagnosed.
The discovery is significant because, up to this point, there has been no direct evidence that animals can contract COVID-19. The dog didn’t have any symptoms, but tests came back weak positive from samples taken around the nose and mouth.
The AFCD stated more tests will be done to confirm that the dog did contract the disease and that the test results were not just a result of the dog living in a home with the virus touching its nose and mouth to infected surfaces.
The spokesman said that the department strongly advises that pets of people infected with the coronavirus be quarantined. Hong Kong has set up “designated animal keeping facilities” to hold pets for 14 days while they test for COVID-19.