What Are Dog Shingles? Can Dogs Get Shingles? How to Treat

Dog Shingles

  • The herpes virus that causes an illness in dogs similar to chicken pox in humans is called Canine Herpes Virus or CHV. This virus is known to be the leading cause of death among litters younger than three weeks.
  • If dogs affected are mature already or at least four weeks old, the virus may cause mild respiratory illness which dogs can easily overcome.
  • The virus is very common in all parts of the world. Statistics have shown that almost one of two or three dogs have been exposed and carry such virus in them.
  • Dogs that live together in close proximity are more vulnerable to the virus as the virus is more likely to be present in this kind of situation. Show kennels and large breeding kennels find it difficult to avoid the canine herpes virus.

Can Dogs get Shingles

  • Dogs do not get shingles by themselves. Moreover, dogs do not contract shingles from humans or their masters.
  • Canine herpes virus can, however, infect dogs and cause severe illness through inhaling or sniffing virus-carrying sneezes. Likewise, moist secretions from dogs already infected with the virus can be contagious.
  • The CHV can be contracted in a dog show.
  • Most dogs infected with the virus appear to be normal.
  • If the stud is shedding, the virus may be present in its semen. Thus, it can be transmitted to the bitch during their mating. Similarly, if the bitch is shedding, its vaginal secretions could contain canine herpes virus. However, once the virus gets in contact with the dog, it can be killed rapidly by bleach and other disinfectant and sunlight.

How to Treat

  • When a puppy is infected with shingle-causing bacteria or virus, it may take three to seven days from its point of contact to start its destruction.
  • A puppy born with it may not have enthusiasm in nursing. It may experience pain in its stomach, have shallow and fast breathing, and may vomit.
  • A litter’s body of less than three weeks old is still very weak and has not developed all bodily systems including its immune system.
  • Below are two possibilities for treatment:
    • There are reports indicating blood serum from dogs which have recovered from a similar illness caused by CHV can be helpful in saving the puppies or dogs. These serums contain antibodies which can neutralize the herpes virus.
    • Administering an antiviral drug known as vidarabine, which was reportedly effective in puppies. However, side-effects may include damage of their heart or nervous system.

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