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COVID virus detected in S.C. dog after owner tested positive

July 18, 2020 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A dog in South Carolina has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, the first confirmed animal detection of the virus in the state.

A private veterinarian decided to test the Charleston County dog, an 8- or 9-year-old shepherd mix, after one of its owners was confirmed to have COVID-19, said Dr. Boyd Parr, state veterinarian and director of Clemson Livestock Poultry Health, in a news release Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the virus in the dog July 9, according to the news release.

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Parr said there continues to be no evidence that pets play a significant role in spreading the virus to people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend routine testing of animals for the virus at this time.

“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,” Parr said.

The dog was euthanized due to a chronic health condition.

As of Thursday, lions, tigers, cats and dogs had confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus across seven states, according to the USDA.