Chicken pox, which is caused by the varicella zoster virus, only affects humans, and not dogs. Many pet owners assume that the rashes found on the skin of their dogs are the same as the rashes found on the skin of a human with chicken pox. They are also worried that their dogs may get the virus from family members with chicken pox. Although chicken pox has been observed to manifest in other primates, such as apes and chimpanzees, there has been no report of dogs acquiring the varicella zoster virus.
Dogs may exhibit skin rashes, but this is not a symptom of varicella zoster virus infection. The varicella zoster virus is a highly species-specific virus and therefore cannot infect animals, other than primates. Viruses require certain types of cells for them to develop and reproduce, and the varicella zoster virus requires certain specific-protein receptors found only primates, and not on canines. Because dogs do not have the certain protein the chickenpox virus needs to complete its life cycle, then the dog cannot be infected by the virus.
Treatments and Remedies for Chickenpox-like Symptoms
- Skin rashes found in the hairless abdominal area can be caused by bacterial infection, and not by chickenpox virus. When unexplained rashes appear on the dog’s skin, it is best to consult and ask help from a veterinarian. The veterinarian would know what medications or ointments should be given to reduce the itchy rashes.
- Aside from going to the veterinarian, it is important to keep the dog and its surroundings clean. Bacteria, fungi and parasites would love to stay in the dog’s body if the dog is dirty.
- Presence of rashes can also indicate allergic reactions. The target areas are usually the armpits, stomach and necks or areas with less hair. When rashes are caused by allergens, then avoid giving the dog beef and chicken. Stick to dog foods without these two ingredients; and apply topical creams as prescribed by the doctor to help reduce the rashes and lessen the itchy feeling. Aside from food allergens, the dog may be allergic to some fleas, mites and other insects. So with this, giving the dog regular baths can help alleviate the itchiness and gets rid of those blood-sucking insects.