The dog, a 17-year-old Pomeranian, passed away on Monday after being returned to its owner following a government quarantine and a negative test for the virus. However, officials said this wasn’t conclusive evidence that the dog was no longer infected.
“It is known in some asymptomatic or mild cases of human infections with other types of coronavirus that antibodies may not always develop,” the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) told SCMP.
The Pomeranian belonged to a 60-year-old woman who recovered from the virus. The woman refused to allow the AFCD to conduct an autopsy on her pet.
“The department learned from the dog’s owner that it had passed away on March 16,” the department said in a statement. “The owner said she was not willing to [allow] an autopsy to examine the cause of death.”
A previous statement stressed that the dog had not shown any symptoms and there was no evidence at the time that pets could either contract coronavirus or pass it on to people, the South China Morning Post reported.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also confirmed the case stating that swabs of its nasal and oral cavities tested “weak positive,” CNBC reported.
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association earlier this month said it was highly unlikely owners could contract coronavirus from their dog or cat, or that their companion animal could transmit the virus to people or other animals.
“Currently there is no evidence that pets or other domestic animals can be infected with this new coronavirus,” the WSAVA’s official guidance says.
“Additionally, there is currently no evidence that pets or other domestic animals might be a source of infection to people with the new coronavirus. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.”
China has been burning dead animal carcasses with 40 new mobile incinerators deployed to Wuhan. Chinese officials are also said to be beating dogs and cats to death according to a report by Daily Mail which included a distressing and disturbing video.
Further, more than 100 wild animals were found dead in a Chinese megacity and tests show that they were poisoned by the disinfectant that’s being used to combat the coronavirus according to Business Insider.
Chinese pet owners have been flocking to buy face masks for their dogs amid the coronavirus outbreak to prevent them from catching the disease, Daily Mail reported. China’s top expert for infectious diseases previously warned that pets might also be infected by the novel coronavirus.
Prof. Li told state broadcaster CCTV:
“In this epidemic season, pet owners should strengthen their management of their pets.
If your dogs run around outside and come to contact with the outbreak or people infected with the virus, then your pets should also be put in quarantine.
Because the epidemic spreads between mammals, therefore we should take precaution against other mammals.”
This has resulted in Chinese citizens killing their pets, throwing them from buildings and abandoning them, according to reports.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests pet owners should restrict contact with pets and other animals if the owner is infected with CoViD-19. That includes “petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food.”