A dog in the Niagara Region has become the first known canine in Canada to test positive for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The news was announced late last week by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, and was identified by researchers at the University of Guelph Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses.
It was not specified where in Niagara the dog is from. At last report, the animal was not seriously ill and displayed no clinical signs of the disease. However, the dog was tested following the positive COVID-19 diagnoses of four people in its household.
“According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, there is no evidence to suggest that animals are playing a role in the spread of this predominantly human disease,” a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture said. “There have been no confirmed instances of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from a pet to another animal or human under natural conditions, despite the widespread international outbreak in humans.”
The University of Guelph’s Scott Weese, one of the specialists to identify the case, recommended that pet owners limit their animals’ contact with others, in the same manner that humans do in terms of bubble isolation.
“This pandemic is clearly driven almost exclusively by people,” Weese told the Toronto Star. “Ultimately, we want to keep this purely a human disease because it’s easier to contain.”
Weese told the Voice that he was unable to confirm the canine’s municipality of residence, but described the dog as a “mixed breed.”
As of Monday, Niagara had 107 active cases of COVID-19 in humans.