Does Chicken Pox Affect Dogs?

Chicken pox is a highly contagious viral infection that causes a blister-like rash on the skin. While the virus easily spreads between humans, it is not zoonotic. Zoonotic diseases have the ability to spread between species, such as between humans and dogs. While dogs are unable to contract chicken pox, they can suffer from a similar virus known as canine herpes virus.

Canine Herpes Virus and Chicken Pox

While chicken pox does not affect dogs, a similar virus, known as alpha herpes virus or canine herpes virus, causes respiratory disease. In adult dogs, this virus may cause no symptoms at all. In puppies, however, this virus is known as fading puppy syndrome and is often fatal. Symptoms include weakness, loss of appetite, yellow or green feces, nasal discharge, breathing difficulty and sudden death.

Zoonotic Diseases

While chicken pox is not a zoonotic disease, many other bacterial and viral infections can pass between you and your pooch. These include cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis, the H1N1 of H5N1 viruses, leptospirosis, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, rabies, ringworm, salmonellosis and roundworm.

Prevention

When it comes to spreading diseases between you and your pooch, the best form of prevention is hand washing. Wash your hands after coming into contact with feces or other bodily fluids. Wash your hands before and after eating and handling your dog.

By Deborah Lundin

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References
Oregon Veterinary Medical Association: Zoonotic Diseases and Dogs
WebMD: Canine Herpes Virus
Newton Ask a Scientist: Dogs and Human Diseases
MayoClinic.com: Chickenpox

About the Author
Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.