Can dogs get stomach flu from humans? This question often arises when pet owners are under the weather and worried about their furry companions.
While humans can easily contract the stomach flu from other infected individuals, it is important to examine whether dogs can also be susceptible to this illness.
In this article, we will discuss the topic further and provide accurate information on the transmission of stomach flu between humans and dogs.
Can Dogs Get Stomach Flu From Humans?
Yes, dogs can contract stomach flu from humans. Research has shown that human norovirus can bind to the cells of the canine gut, which is the initial step in the infection process.
This means that if a person with stomach flu comes into contact with a dog, there is a possibility that the virus can be transmitted.
Research Done To Confirm The Theory
A team of researchers based in Helsinki, Finland, conducted a study in 2012 where they examined 92 stool samples obtained from dogs that lived close to individuals who had recently exhibited symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.
The study aimed to identify the presence of various human norovirus strains in these samples.
The screening results revealed four fecal samples from pet dogs, who had direct contact with symptomatic individuals, tested positive for human norovirus.
These infected dogs resided in households with small children, and two displayed mild symptoms.
The authors concluded that human noroviruses “can survive in the canine gastrointestinal tract. Whether these viruses can replicate in dogs remains unresolved, but an association of pet dogs playing a role in transmitting NoVs that infect humans is obvious.”
What Causes Gastroenteritis In Dogs?
Gastroenteritis in dogs is a common condition that affects the digestive system, causing inflammation and irritation of the gastrointestinal tract. It can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite.
While the exact cause of gastroenteritis can vary from case to case, several common factors can contribute to its development. These include;
- Consuming expired or spoiled food – Dogs are known for their indiscriminate eating habits and may consume food that has gone bad, leading to bacterial contamination and subsequent digestive issues.
- Liver and kidney disease – Underlying liver or kidney issues can compromise a dog’s ability to process and eliminate toxins, leading to gastrointestinal problems.
When they are not functioning properly, toxins can build up in the digestive system, leading to inflammation and digestive issues.
- Swallowing foreign objects – Dogs tend to chew on and swallow objects they come across, which can lead to blockages or irritation in the digestive tract. The aftermath can be vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
- Stomach ulcers – Various factors, including stress, certain medications, or underlying health conditions, can cause stomach ulcers. The presence of stomach ulcers can lead to stomach disturbances.
- Certain gastrointestinal tract cancer – Unfortunately, some cancers can affect a dog’s digestive tract, causing symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss.
- Certain viruses or bacteria – Highly contagious viruses like parvovirus can attack a dog’s digestive system, causing severe gastroenteritis.
- Food allergies – Dogs can develop allergies to certain foods, triggering stomach upset and other allergic reactions.
- Ingesting toxins can also lead to digestive problems – Accidental ingestion of toxic substances, such as chemicals, poisonous plants, or human medications, can lead to digestive issues in your dog.
Haemorrhagic Gastroenteritis In Dogs
If you observe the presence of blood in your dog’s vomit or feces, it could indicate the occurrence of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.
Typically, the stool may have a texture resembling raspberry jam, and there might be small amounts of blood around the rectum.
Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis in dogs is highly concerning and demands immediate veterinary attention.
How To Tell If Your Dog Has Got Gastroenteritis
As a responsible pet owner, you should be aware of the signs and symptoms of gastroenteritis to provide your furry friend with the necessary care and treatment. They include;
- Vomiting can occur and may appear foamy and yellow once the stomach is empty.
- Lack of appetite is a common sign.
- Diarrhea is another symptom that may be present.
- Gagging or dry heaving may also occur.
- Lethargy is a symptom that can be observed in affected individuals.
Treatment of Gastroenteritis in Dogs
Treating gastroenteritis in dogs will typically vary depending on the underlying cause. If a bacterial infection causes gastroenteritis, antibiotics may be prescribed to combat the bacteria and reduce inflammation.
In cases where parasites are responsible, deworming medications may be administered. Supportive care like fluid therapy and a bland diet may be recommended if the condition is due to dietary indiscretion, such as consuming spoiled food or foreign objects.
The specific treatment approach will be determined by thorough examination and diagnostic tests conducted by a veterinarian.
Is There a Vaccine For Gastroenteritis In Dogs?
The canine parvovirus vaccine is essential for all dogs, recommended by both WSAVA and AAHA.
Two types are available: modified live virus (MLV) and inactivated. MLV is common in North America, ensuring immunity against all 3 CPV-2 strains.
Immunity relies on IgG-neutralizing antibodies, with IgA and cell-mediated immunity less significant.
B lymphocytes in lymphoid tissues respond to parvoviral antigens, differentiating into plasma and memory B cells.
Initially producing IgM, plasma cells later switch to IgG. After 3 to 5 antigen encounters, the most memory B cells form. Ensuring proper vaccination helps dogs stay protected from parvovirus.
Preventive Measures To Avoid Transmission Of Stomach Flu To Dogs
Preventing gastroenteritis in dogs in the long term can pose challenges, particularly when the underlying cause is unknown. However, there are several measures you can take to minimize the risk of recurrence.
1. Discourage scavenging – Keep the trash cans securely closed and ensure any potentially harmful substances are out of reach.
Dogs are naturally curious and may be tempted to eat things they find while exploring their surroundings, which can lead to stomach flu or other health issues.
2. Regular worming treatments – Worms can weaken a dog’s immune system, making them more susceptible to infections such as stomach flu.
Regularly deworming dogs reduces the likelihood of worms compromising your dog’s health and increasing the risk of transmission.
3. Introduce any new foods slowly – Do so gradually when introducing new foods to your dog’s diet. Sudden changes in diet often upset a dog’s digestive system, leading to stomach flu or other gastrointestinal issues.
4. Keep up to date with vaccinations – Vaccinations provide dogs immunity against various viruses and diseases, including stomach flu.
Regular vaccinations ensure a dog’s immune system is strong enough to fight potential infections.
Diagnosis Of Gastroenteritis In Dogs
To accurately diagnose gastroenteritis in dogs, veterinarians rely on clinical signs, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. Common tests include;
Pet blood tests include a complete blood count and chemistry panel to assess a dog’s hydration levels and screen for potential organ involvement.
A complete blood count measures the levels of different blood cells. At the same time, a chemistry panel assesses the function of major body organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and pancreas, such as electrolytes and enzymes.
By analyzing these results, veterinarians can identify any abnormalities indicating organ dysfunction.
2. Fecal analysis
This test is particularly useful for detecting infectious causes of gastrointestinal issues in dogs, such as parasites or parvovirus. A sample of the dog’s feces undergoes an examination to identify the presence of these pathogens.
Urinalysis is a standard diagnostic test to screen for kidney disease, urinary tract infections, and certain endocrine diseases like diabetes in dogs. It involves collecting a urine sample from the pet and analyzing it.
Evaluating levels of various substances in the urine, such as glucose, protein, and red or white blood cells, can help assess the health of the urinary system and detect any underlying conditions that may require treatment.
4. Abdominal radiographs
The abdominal radiography technique provides clear images of the abdominal area to identify any foreign objects or blockages that may be causing digestive issues or discomfort for the animal.
After identifying these obstructions, the appropriate course of action, such as surgical intervention if necessary, can be decided on.
Can dogs get stomach flu from humans? As seen, dogs can contract stomach flu from their owners.
While dogs have viruses and bacteria that can cause similar symptoms, they can also be susceptible to the same strains that affect humans.
The transmission of stomach flu from humans to dogs generally occurs through direct contact with contaminated surfaces or through the sharing of food and water bowls.
As a dog owner, you should practice good hygiene and take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of stomach flu to your pets.
Regular hand washing, proper food handling, and keeping infected individuals away from their dogs are all important measures to reduce the risk of transmission.