The untimely demise of Buddy, the German Sheppard

Losing a dog can be very closely compared to losing a family member. The Mahoneys from Staten Island feels the same regarding their 7 years old German Sheppard, Buddy.

While the world is going through a pandemic, the family never thought they could lose their dog to it. Less than 25 pets have been affected by COVID-19 in the US and their dog, Buddy happened to be one of the unlucky ones.

The first symptoms.

In mid-April, buddy developed thick mucus in his nose and had difficulty in breathing. Robert Mahoney, himself had been tested positive of the coronavirus and immediately guessed that the sudden sickness of Buddy might have something to do with his infection.

Initially, no doctor or clinic was sure of Buddy’s infection. They prescribed antibiotics overcall but refused to physically check up the dog. One week later when things seemed to have worsened, Julianna, Mahoney’s 13-year-old daughter took Buddy for a checkup.

The Mahoneys did not spare any effort to treat their beloved German Sheppard. He was taken to three clinics, but none of the veterinarians thought it could be coronavirus which is normal because they had not encountered anyone bringing in their pets for COVID-19 checkup. USG s and X-rays showed enlarged liver and spleen and possible heart issues, for which medicines were prescribed. But he did not recover in the next 3 weeks. By May 15th Buddy was drained, tired and very sick. It was then that the third and last clinic, Bay Street Animal Hospital finally ran COVID tests and Buddy was declared positive!

This made Buddy the first animal to contract the pandemic causing virus. There were blood samples taken on May 20th too which did not show any active virus in the blood which by May 20th Buddy had already healed himself from the disease. But the after sickness result was drastic. Buddy’s health declined drastically. From blood in urine to highly laboured breathing, the suffering was evident. In June when he started developing trouble in walking, his family panicked.

It was on July 11th when Buddy threw up blood clots and Allison Mahoney knew nothing was left to do. They took the very difficult decision to euthanize the dog. It was only on 11th June that the Mahoneys got to know that their dog most certainly had lymphoma.

“It looked like it was his insides coming out. He had it all over. It was coming from his nose and mouth. 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.”

The news about Buddy’s lymphoma confused the family and they regret any inefficiency. For humans, several facts are already available to doctors. The fact that for humans, the disease can be in mild, moderate or severe is not something that can be guaranteed for dogs. Also, underlying sickness in humans can accelerate the effects of COVID-19. That too is not guaranteed in animals. The fact that Buddy happened to the first pet to contract the disease left the doctors sceptical and confused which in turn led to inefficiency. The last report about Buddy’s probable lymphoma breaks his family’s heart and the regret is understandable.

Despite the loss, the family said, “I think they are learning as well. It’s all trial and error. And they tried to help us the best way they can.” 

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