Can Dogs Get AIDS or HIV Infection: What Is Canine Ehrlichiosis?

July 29, 2011 | Dog Diseases | Leave a Comment |

Can Dogs Get AIDS or HIV?

AIDS is a viral infection caused by HIV that affects the immune system of humans. HIV is transmitted through sensual contact, transfusion with infected blood, and through perinatal transmission. However, there is no reported incident where neither an animal transmitted the HIV to a human nor did a human infected with HIV infect an animal.

Contrary to beliefs, dogs cannot be infected with HIV and have AIDS. First, HIV can be transmitted through sexual contact, blood transfusions and perinatal transmission.

Humans cannot have sexual interaction with dogs; and blood transfusion and perinatal transmission are both impossible.

Second, incidences wherein dogs bite HIV-infected humans cannot be infected with the said virus because HIV has to enter the bloodstream. HIV easily dies; the virus dies before it enters the bloodstream.

Third, HIV is species-specific. Although HIV descends from simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) that infects apes and monkeys, HIV is species-specific and cannot infect other mammals. Vpu, an accessory protein of HIV-1, attacks and destroys human tetherin, which is an anti-viral protein in humans. But HIV-1 Vpu cannot destroy other tetherins variants found mice, rhesus macaques, and African green monkeys; making these laboratory animals resistant to HIV and proves that HIV only infects humans.

Canine Ehrlichiosis

Dogs may not be infected with HIV and have AIDS, but they can have AIDS-like symptoms. Canine ehrlichiosis is a bacterial infection caused by Ehrlichia canisE. chaffeensisE. ewingii, and E. ruminantium. These bacteria attack and kill the white blood cells and affect the immune system of the dog.

These bacteria are carried by Lone Star Ticks and Brown Dog Ticks.

Here are some of the AIDS-like symptoms of canine ehrlichiosis:

  • Fever. Dogs with canine ehrlichiosis are now more prone to other infections, and the increase in body temperature helps the body fight these other forms of infections.
  • Lethargy. Dogs tend to be sluggish, inactive and lazy if they have poor immune system. They are sickly and avoid physical activities.
  • Loss of appetite. This would result to rapid weight loss.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea. These can also result to weight loss and lethargy in dogs. Dogs would be too tired to move around.

When dogs have these symptoms, it is best to bring them to the veterinarian for further laboratory examinations. Dogs with canine ehrlichiosis are usually given an antibiotic, doxycylcline. Blood transfusion may also be necessary if the dog has low blood count.

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Feline Hiv Symptoms

  • It is caused Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
  • Just like in HIV/AIDS, the condition affects the immune system
  • It renders the cat unable to fight off infections
  • Cats with the condition may also be susceptible to cancer
  • Around 2.5% of the cats in the Us have FIV
  • The condition is found in cat communities world wide
  • The virus can affect domesticated cats as well as wild felines
  • They are most common in outdoor cats that are free to roam
  • Male cats are more likely to get infected by the virus than female cats

 

Feline HIV Transmissions

  • Like HIV, FIV is transmitted trough bodily fluids
  • It can be transmitted through bite wounds as the FIV is present in saliva
  • Cats can also get it through sexual contact
  • The condition is rarely transmitted from mother to kittens in utero or through breast feeding
  • There is no evidence that the condition will be transmitted to other species just as HIV is only going to be infect humans
  • The only risk to humans comes in the form of secondary infections that a cat may acquire as a result of weakened immune system.

Feline HIV Treatment

  • Cats can live for many years with FIV without showing any symptoms
  • Some HIV medications are used to help control FIV
  • Supportive care is also offered to cats who have the disease
  • It is important to diagnose the condition properly

Feline HIV Vaccinations

  • A vaccine against this condition is available.
  • The vaccine, however, does not provide the animal with 100% protection from the disease

 

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