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Coronavirus trace found in Charleston County dog, Clemson reports

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This electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Charleston County led the state in new cases, with 172 positive tests reported on Thursday. Richland County followed with 137 and Greenville with 132. File/AP

A Charleston County dog tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, Clemson University announced on Thursday.

In a media statement, the school said a private veterinarian decided to test the dog, identified as an 8- or 9-year-old shepherd mix, for SARS-CoV-2 after one of its owners was confirmed to have the disease.

The dog had a chronic health condition.

Clemson stressed the report comes with a message of caution.

“Based on current knowledge, there continues to be no evidence that pets play a significant role in spreading SARS-CoV-2 to people,” said Dr. Boyd Parr, state veterinarian and director of Clemson Livestock Poultry Health.

“It remains a good idea to restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you do with other people, if you are infected with COVID-19 in order to protect them from exposure to the virus as recommended by the CDC,” Parr said.

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The dog had to be euthanized due to his chronic condition, Parr said.

This is the first confirmed animal detection of SARS-CoV-2 in South Carolina.

Routine testing of animals is not recommended at this time, Clemson said. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the virus in the dog July 9.

Various agencies are monitoring, as well. 

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 843-937-5551. Follow him on Twitter at @skropf47.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.

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