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Can Dogs Get Shingles Like Humans Do?

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Dog Health By Meg Marrs 3 min read August 6, 2020 2 Comments

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Good news — no, your pooch can’t contract shingles. Shingles is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus, and since dogs cannot contract either of these viruses, they are in the clear!

Why is your dog safe? Because neither chickenpox nor shingles are anthroponotic diseases (which means they can’t be transmitted from humans to other animal species).

The reverse of anthroponotic diseases are zoonotic diseases, which can be transmitted from animals to humans (rabies is one well-known zoonotic disease).

Do you see red spots on your dog’s skin? It could be result of:

  • Ticks and Fleas. These bloodsucking parasites can cause welts and red splotches on your dog’s skin. There are many flea and tick treatments on the market that can help your pooch avoid these parasites.
  • Allergies. Just like humans, dogs can get rashes due to allergies. The allergies could be food related or environmental. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from food allergies, talk to your vet about identifying the culprit.
  • Bacterial Infection. Your dog could be suffering from a bacterial infection, which can cause itchiness and crusting. A few of the most common bacterial infections in canines include staph infections and impetigo. If you’ve noticed that your dog has recently had skin abrasions or cuts, bacterial infections could be the cause. Bacterial infections are nothing to stress too much about, as long as you treat them upon discovery. They can usually be cured with your vet’s help and some antibiotic ointment.

Practice prevention by keeping your dog vaccinated and ensuring that his living space is clean. Make sure to wash your dog regularly and bathe with care.

If you’re unable to deduce the cause of your dog’s red spots, it’s best to take him to a vet.

Dogs Can’t Get Shingles, But They Can Get CHV

While dogs can’t get shingles or chicken pox, they are susceptible to a similar virus called the canine herpes virus (CHV), which can be deadly in newborn puppies.

The canine herpes virus can be transmitted through direct contact and via aerosols, which includes:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Nosing
  • Sniffing
  • Licking
  • Sexual intercourse

When puppies contract CHV, it often comes from the mother, as the disease can be spread in the birth canal or from interaction with the mother after birth.

Symptoms of Canine Herpes Virus (CHV)

While adult dogs can be infected with CHV without showing any symptoms, the infection is deadly for younger dogs, with CHV being the leading cause of death in newborn puppies.

Symptoms of the canine herpes virus in puppies includes:

  • Weakness
  • Constant crying
  • Refusal to suckle
  • Trouble breathing and nasal discharge

Disturbingly, the virus can travel very quickly and with little warning. If one puppy in a litter is infected, the entire litter may die within 24 hours.

There is only a small window in which CHV is truly dangerous for pups – the first three weeks are when puppies are most at risk. If the disease is contracted when the pups are older than 3 weeks, they have a much higher chance of survival.

How to Prevent CHV In Puppies

Just like some strains of the human herpes virus, the canine herpes virus is fairly common among adult dogs, and is really only a danger for puppies.

To prevent the canine herpes virus from occurring, keep your pregnant dog away from other dogs late in pregnancy and the first month after birth. 

All adult dogs that could potentially be used for breeding should always be tested for CHV, which can be performed with a simple blood work test.

Is There A Cure For CHV?

If your newborn pups show symptoms of CHV, contact your vet immediately. They will put your puppy on an antiviral medication and keep your pup warm, since the canine herpes virus can only survive in low temperatures. Sadly, CHV works quickly and death often occurs before a pup can get treated.

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Do you have any experience with canine herpes virus? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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Kim Martin

Good information I get shingles and it just yawned on me that my Roxi might beable to catch them. Thank you for your help

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Tracy with Gucci

My dog has little red bumps all on her and crane sores even trying to get into her eye and she scratches them till she bleeds and they also whimper as you drove her back what was this be

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