HONG KONG (KRON) – The first known dog to test positive for coronavirus has died in Hong Kong after apparently recovering from the disease.
The South China Morning Post reports that the 17-year-old pomeranian died after being returned home to its owner after a government-mandated quarantine and a negative test for the virus.
The local news outlet reported the dog had belonged to a woman who recovered from coronavirus and did not allow the city’s Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department to conduct an autopsy on her dog to examine its cause of death.
The dog was returned home Saturday after it was isolated at a government facility since late February.
According to the Post, health officials used blood, nasal, and oral samples to repeatedly test the dog for the virus while it was quarantined.
Officials said on March 12 blood tests that came back were negative, which means no coronavirus-related antibodies were found in the dog’s system.
Local authorities pointed out that this, however, doesn’t mean the dog wasn’t infected.
The dog was reportedly the first known case of human-to-human animal transmission of the virus, although officials believed the owner only passed “low levels” of the virus onto the pet.
Pet cats and dogs cannot pass the coronavirus on to humans, but they can test positive for low levels of the pathogen if they catch it from their owner.