The death occurred just two days after the 17-year-old dog was cleared of having the virus in Hong Kong. The tragic event came after suspicions of infection were proven to be “unfounded”.
Vets in the Asian financial hub now say the dog’s death could have been as a result of the stress and anxiety caused from being placed in quarantine.
The dog initially tested negative for the virus last week, the city’s Hong Kong’s Agriculture Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said.
It belonged to a patient who had contracted COVID-19.
The dog returned home to its owner on Saturday.
The AFCD gave no further details.
In February, it had initially tested “weak positive” for the virus – with low levels apparently found in its nasal and oral cavity samples.
These findings prompted further tests to confirm whether it had been infected or just contaminated.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there is no evidence that pets can be infected with coronavirus.
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Animal health experts monitoring the Hong Kong case have said pet owners should be overly concerned and should not abandon their pets.
The department said: “Pet owners are reminded to adopt good hygiene practices (including hand washing before and after being around or handling animals, their food, or supplies, as well as avoiding kissing them) and to maintain a clean and hygienic household environment.
“People who are sick should restrict contacting animals. If there are any changes in the health condition of the pets, advice from a veterinarian should be sought as soon as possible.”
The Society for the Protection of Animals in Hong Kong said being infected was not the same as being infectious, and capable of spreading the virus.
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It said: “While the information tells us that the dog has a low-level of infection members of the public should note that the dog is showing no symptoms whatsoever.
“We have been informed the dog is currently very healthy and doing well at the quarantine centre.”
The world organisation for animal health also emphasised there was no evidence pets spread the disease, or even get sick themselves.
It explained: “There is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare.”
Meanwhile, the coronavirus continues to sweep the world, with Europe now at the epicentre of the outbreak.
The UK is moving towards a full-blown coronavirus endemic, with the real number of those infected by the virus totalling between 35,000 and 50,000, according to Professor Neil Ferguson, director of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College.
He made the bombshell claims shortly after Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, announced a series of stringent new measures on Monday.
So far, more than 1,500 people have tested positive for the virus in the UK, with 55 having died.
However, because many who experience symptoms of the virus have been told to self-isolate, the number may be much higher – with thousands going untested.
Prof Neil Ferguson told The Guardian: “What we’re seeing and we’ve seen for past 3-4 weeks as transmission got established in the UK is exponential growth.
“We think it’s doubling on the order of every five to six days. It will get worse from now on.”
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