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Crossing human animal barrier
An_221294 posted:
Question: Is it possible for a dog to catch a human cold or flu virus?
I recently dog sat one of my friends dogs for a couple of days and a few days after the dog returned home, came down with runny nose and cough as well as her big brother lab. I came down with a cold about a day or two later after that. My friend insists that I gave her dog a cold and wants me to pay the vet bill for both her dogs...As a nurse I really didn't think this was possible. but I do know that viruses mutate...any info would help.
wmatto83 responded:
Yes as far as I know humans can give dogs colds. However they usually pass thru them just like humans I am not sure your friend needs to take her dogs to the vet over a cold. I personally dont go to the doctor if I have a cold unless it makes me bedridden. THere is an article somehwere on webmd about this. Check it out.
ME (27) Hubby (38) Max (Brittany 4) Dante (Brittany 4) Aaron (human due to arrive June 17th)
Ernie Ward, DVM responded:
A house full of sniffles! Typically, viruses are species-specific. That is, dog viruses such as those that cause viral upper respiratory infections, do not cause infection in humans. Of course, viruses can, and do, mutate, although that is quite rare (think avian influenza, etc). Bacteria, on the other hand, only desire a warm body; they don't care what the species is. Bacterial infections in general tend to be much less contagious (think direct contact).

Bottom line: it is highly unlikely your dogs gave your friend a "cold" or that you gave the dogs an infection.

Good luck with your friend!


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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