STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A Staten Island family is mourning the loss of a beloved family pet while also encouraging health officials to adopt and issue protocols for pets exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
In an exclusive interview with National Geographic, the Mahoney family detailed their healthy 6-year-old German shepherd Buddy’s three-month decline after he first developed breathing problems in mid-April.
It took the family one full month, however, to locate a veterinarian who would administer a COVID-19 test, despite Buddy’s weight loss, lethargy, loss of appetite, heavy breathing and thick mucus and despite owner Robert Mahoney’s positive COVID-19 results on Easter Sunday, WABC reported.
Buddy’s June 1 results came back positive, and a follow-up test five days later revealed virus antibodies but no signs of active infection.
Allison Mahoney told National Geographic that Buddy’s symptoms progressed to the point she found him vomiting clotted blood July 11 and knew no treatment could help.
We knew there was nothing that could be done for him from there. What are you going to do for a dog with this? But he had the will to live. He didn’t want to go,” Allison Mahoney told the magazine.
New blood work performed before the Mahoneys had Buddy euthanized showed he most likely died of lymphoma, but the family believes his case should be used to guide future treatment of pets exhibiting symptoms, WPIX reported.
The couple also questioned if the presence of undetected cancer made Buddy more susceptible to contracting the virus – much like any human with a preexisting condition might be - but they told National Geographic no interest has been shown in using his case to learn more.
Cox Media Group