Okay, maybe some other dogs around the country also have happened to pick up a case of COVID-19, but this dog, named Buster, is Illinois' first canine COVID-19 patient.

If you're a dog lover (and why wouldn't you be), let me relieve a potential point of anxiety for you--Buster the pug is going to be okay. I didn't want to drag anyone through a "the dog died at the end" story.

I'm not a monster.

Young Pug laying on a small dog sofa.
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All Signs Point To A Pet-Sitter Passing COVID-19 Along To Buster The Pug

It seems that Buster had been experiencing respiratory symptoms since early January and recently tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, according to a news release from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine:

“The dog is overall doing well, but he continues to have nasal congestion and clinical signs,” said Dr. Sullivan, the dog’s veterinarian and the director of the Medical District Veterinary Clinic in Chicago. “The source of infection appears to be a person who was caring for him over the New Year’s holiday while his owners were away. The caretaker became very ill with COVID while caring for the dog.”

The dog’s owners had not been ill with COVID, so it is unlikely that they infected the dog. There is no evidence of COVID infections passing from pets to people.

Portrait of Fawn Pug tilting his head and staring.
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Photo taken in Yekaterinburg, Russia
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Even though we've been dealing with this COVID-19 pandemic for a couple of years now, published reports say that only 97 dogs from around the country have tested positive for COVID-19.

As for Buster, he's still got some nasal congestion, but is expected to fully recover.

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