close up view of a cute baby pug in street


close up view of a cute baby pug in street

Photo by: kiszon pascal

kiszon pascal

First Dog in the US Tests Positive for Coronavirus

By: Leah Weber

A pug in North Carolina has tested positive for COVID-19, after the virus worked its way through almost his whole family.

April 29, 2020

A family in North Carolina is in full blown recovery mode after COVID-19 infected all but one member of their (human) family. At least they thought they were, until their pug Winston, tested positive for the novel virus.

The McLean family from Chapel Hill were participating in a study with Duke University when Winston started exhibiting COVID-like symptoms. Winston’s mom, Dr. Heather McLean (a pediatrician), told her local news station WRAL, “Pugs are a little unusual in that they cough and sneeze in a very strange way. So, it almost seems like he was gagging, and there was one day when he didn’t want to eat his breakfast. And if you know pugs, you know they love to eat, so that seemed very unusual.”


Photo by: Brian Podolsky / EyeEm

Brian Podolsky / EyeEm

The study that the family was a part of is the Molecular and Epidemiological Study of Suspected Infection (MESSI) at Duke. The research has pivoted its focus to COVID-19 due to the global pandemic with Dr. Christopher Woods at the helm. Dr. Woods spoke about the McLean family saying, "To our knowledge, this is the first instance in which the virus has been detected in a dog...” He went on to discuss how there is still much to be learned about this result and the virus as a whole.

Like we have said before, it is unclear whether or not our pets can pass this virus back to us humans, but diligent care should be taken around the home to prevent the spread. Please keep an eye on the World Health Organization's Question and Answers site for any and all updates on COVID-19 and your pets.

Next Up

Rediscovered in Ocean's Twilight Zone: the Short-Nosed Sea Snake

The short-nosed sea snake was recently rediscovered in the ocean’s twilight zone, 200 feet below the surface. Scientists are furthering their research with genetic testing.

Bat Pups Babble like Babies

Baby greater sac-winged bats show similarities to human babies in the way they string together syllabus before they can learn to “talk.”

The Untold Journey of the African House Gecko's Treck across the Atlantic Ocean

Reptile roadtrip? How the African house gecko traveled from Africa across to the Americas.

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is Officially Extinct, Along with 22 Other Species

Preserved too late, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared almost two dozen previously endangered species as extinct, underscoring a larger problem of climate change and habitat loss in America.

Helping the Los Angeles River Change Course

As a human trying to commute from Long Beach to Downtown Los Angeles to the hills of Pasadena, you probably already know that you’ll be making your way on infamous, traffic-clogged roads filled with obstacles to be avoided.

The ‘Immortal’ Plant Tells Its Tale

A plant with two leaves has the power to live up to 1,000 years in a rowdy there really such a thing?

Virgin Births: The First California Condor Chicks Born from Unfertilized Eggs

The first two instances of asexual reproduction have been confirmed in the California condor species.THE ZOO: SAN DIEGO is streaming on discovery+.

There’s a Black Rhino Baby Boom in Zimbabwe

Finally, a success story for the critically endangered animal.

Bird Enthusiasts Take Over Social Media for #BlackBirdersWeek

Because nature lovers are just as diverse as nature itself.

Climate Week 2021 Shines a Light on the Climate Crisis

Every September since 2009, Climate Week coincides with the UN General Assembly in New York City. Action is required to halt and attempt to reverse the rapid and catastrophic deterioration of the world's climate. The planet is in crisis and this year The Explorers Club is spotlighting experts in the field to bring awareness to how we can create the change we need to improve the future of the planet.