Can My Dog Get Hantaviruses?

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Hantaviruses are a family of viruses that cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome or HPS. HPS is a rare but serious disease that causes severe lung problems and sometimes death. Hantavirus is carried by several species of rats and mice. People can get the disease by coming in contact with feces or urine from infected rodents or breathing in dust from dried feces or urine. Are your dogs also at risk from this deadly virus?


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Hantavirus Risk to Pets

Other mammals such as dogs and cats can be infected with a hantavirus, but they appear to be unaffected by HPS. Researchers have found antibodies in dogs who have come in contact with rodents that carry the virus, but the dogs don't develop the pulmonary symptoms. The animals also don't pass the virus to humans. However, they may facilitate infection in humans by bringing infected rodents into the presence of people, who then can catch the disease by coming in contact with rodent excretions.


By Gayle Rodcay

CDC: Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (hantavirus) and Animals
Center for Food Security and Public Health: Hantavirus [PDF]


About the Author
With a Bachelor of Arts in technical communications from Colorado State University, Gayle Rodcay has spent over 18 years editing and writing for various technical publications. In 2009, she launched a freelance writing career. Before embarking on her writing career, Rodcay was a certified veterinary technician and uses her animal and health knowledge in her freelance writing efforts.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.