A DOG in Hong Kong has become the first domestic pet on the planet to test positive for coronavirus.
Oral, nasal and rectal samples taken from a Pomeranian have confirmed the presence of the potentially lethal infection.
As a result, the canine will now be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days.
The dog’s owner, Yvonne Chow Hau Yee, who had previously suffered a bout of coronavirus, took her dog to a vet in the Happy Valley area of Hong Kong.
Subsequent tests by confirmed the dog had been infected by the virus.
Despite the positive test results, the Pomeranian did not present with any symptoms at the time of its examination.
Officials at the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) ordered the dog be kept in Hong Kong’s only quarantine facility.
The canine’s condition will be monitored with further tests likely to follow.
Despite the positive test result, the AFCD was eager to stress there is no “evidence that pet animals can be infected with the Covid-19 virus or can be a source of infection to people”.
In any event, pet owners are being warned to ensure they wash their hands after any physical contact with their animals.
This fresh development comes a day after the first confirmed case of the virus was confirmed on the island of Ireland.
A patient in Northern Ireland tested positive for the disease having travelled from Italy to Dublin and then on to Northern Ireland.