A dog could be the first in the UK to contract coronavirus after chewing its owner's discarded tissue.
Mandy Hayes, 60, had all Covid 19 symptoms and was in bed for weeks with a burning throat, dry cough and lost sense of smell
She caught her Alaskan Malamute Mushka chewing on a used handkerchief on her bedside table, but was assured by online advice that the disease could not be transmitted to pets.
Two weeks later, the ten-year-old Mushka developed exactly the same symptoms as his owner – a persistent, dry "covid" cough and extreme shortness of breath.
The scared Mandy from Gravesend, Kent, had a friend take the dog to the vet – who dismissed the symptoms as kennel cough and then lungworm, she said.
Mandy Hayes. from Gravesend, Kent, with her dog Mushka, who she believes may have had coronavirus after chewing on her used tissues while fighting the infection
Mushka was taken to the vet after showing Covid 19 symptoms that found fluid in his lungs, which prompted the vets to suggest Mandy put him down before asking her to treat him
Can dogs become infected with the coronavirus infection?
The British Kennel Club says that a dog is highly unlikely to develop coronavirus. There are no confirmed cases for this.
A small number of cases have been confirmed in dogs, but in these cases the dogs showed no symptoms and are believed to be tested positive by infected people after inhaling contaminated droplets.
If your dog is not feeling well, COVID-19 is very unlikely to be the cause of his illness. However, it is important that you contact your veterinarian to find out what is causing his illness.
The World Health Organization for Animal Health says that while some animals, including dogs, can become infected through contact with people who are already infected, there is no evidence that the virus can spread from animals to humans.
Studies are ongoing to help experts better understand the spread of infection in animals.
But the doggie got worse and he was taken for a CT scan, which found excess fluid in his lungs – another classic sign of advanced coronavirus.
Retired branch manager Mandy declined to stop Mushka – and instead pressured vets to give him steroids, a treatment that has been shown to reduce the number of deaths in COVID-19 patients.
And after six weeks of illness, both Mandy and Mushka are finally on the mend.
Mandy was unable to get a test for her dog – but is even more convinced that he had the disease after a pet cat tested positive in the UK this week.
Last month, a domestic cat was the first animal in the UK to test positive for the virus.
In the United States, the first animal that tested positive for coronavirus was a tiger in a New York zoo.
Mandy said, "I know he had it. We almost lost it.
"When the CT scan found lungs full of fluid, I asked if he could have caught them, but the vet said" No ".
At that time, the American Kennel Club had on its website that dogs and cats should be sent away for care if someone had viruses in the home.
"The UK Kennel Club's statement was" no known cases ".
& # 39; That made me very angry. I know my dog had it.
"I have video clips of him when he suffered that make him cough and show very uncomfortable.
"More pet owners need to be made aware that cats and dogs have been shown to transmit coronaviruses from humans."
Since Covid-19 first appeared in December 2019, it has infected over 16 million people. However, according to the PDSA Animal Welfare Organization, only about 15 pets have passed a positive test, although many of us live in close contact with our pets.
The charity states that most of these infected pets showed no signs of disease at all, and those who did developed very mild symptoms.
It is believed that everyone received the virus from a human because they were all in close contact with someone with strong suspicion or confirmed Covid-19.
Mandy got sick in March, but at that point, tests were not routinely available to members of the public who were not in the hospital.
Mushka fell ill after tearing one of her used handkerchiefs off the table. Her husband Vernon, 55, tried to pull the handkerchief out of his mouth, but it was too late.
But when Mandy felt better, she watched in horror as Mushka got sick.
Video recordings show how Mushka coughs heavily and grinds his teeth constantly.
Mandy believes Mushka is the first dog in the UK to become infected with the coronavirus infection
For two weeks after he got sick, despite a number of different diagnoses by veterinarians, his condition worsened until they instructed him to be put down.
It was only when the vet changed Mushka's treatment under pressure from Mandy that his condition began to improve, she claims.
The steroids that targeted inflammation of the lungs eventually kept him healthy, she said.
Mandy, who has two children and six grandchildren, added: “Throughout the pandemic, experts have dismissed this as a pet owner who was only pedantic and overly concerned about their pets.
"I know a lot of families who followed the advice of veterinary experts and had their beloved pets put down when there were other options.
In America, pet owners have been informed that it is safest to take their pets home if they are infected with the virus to prevent them from getting sick.
“But we weren't informed about it here in the UK. We were only told that it was extremely unlikely and we should not worry.
"I think pet owners should know the real reason why their valued companions are not with them now, at a time when they are most needed.
"The government should accept that it is slowly releasing this vital life-saving information to the public."
A statement on the Kennel Club website says there is "no evidence that dog health is affected by COVID-19".
He added, "If your dog is not well, COVID-19 is very unlikely to be the cause of his illness. However, it is important that you contact your veterinarian to find out what is causing his illness."