Have you ever wondered whether your dogs can get… STDs?
Well, if you haven’t, the meddlesome crew at BarkPost decided to wonder for you! 🙂
It turns out that there are 3 major sexually transmitted diseases that dogs may encounter or contract.
Wait, is this the same as human herpes? Nope. Canine Herpesvirus, or CHV, is technically not the same virus which causes herpes in humans. It can be transmitted between dogs during intercourse, but exposure to the virus can occur without sexual contact.
CHV will not manifest as the lesions or sores we associate with human herpesvirus. The symptoms are shortness of breath, yellowish-greenish poop, a tender tummy, and a potential bloody discharge from the nose.
It’s important to note that CHV poses more of a threat to puppies under one week of age than it does any other dog. The above symptoms may not even develop in adult dogs exposed to the virus, though they may carry the virus for some time. But if a pregnant female becomes infected, her litter is at great risk.
Infected puppies have high rates of mortality, so if symptoms are observed seek emergency care immediately. The video below discusses the infection of puppies in greater detail.
CTVT is a form of cancer which spreads from dog to dog through sexual intercourse. It is an external growth, typically developing on the penis or vulva, and it can also develop on the lips or other body parts.
CTVT manifests as ulcers or open sores shaped like cauliflower, but are not analogous to human genital warts.
Proper diagnosis requires a biopsy, and treatment may involve surgical removal. Dogs’ immune systems are rigged to fight the tumors, and even though the tumors may naturally regress, CTVT is progressive and must be dealt with on a case by case basis as far as treatment is concerned. Never assume your pup will just be okay.
Canine Brucellosis is a contagious bacterial infection that strikes the reproductive organs of dogs. The infection is spread from pup to pup through sex, or through contact with the genital secretions or urine of infected dogs.
Symptoms include swollen testicles or vaginal discharge. Female dogs who are unable to conceive, or pregnant dogs who miscarry, may also have contracted Brucellosis. Only a blood test can confirm the presence of the bacteria.
Antibiotics are required to treat Canine Brucellosis, but this will only control the infection, not cure it. Dogs with CB will have CB for life.
CB is also transmissible to humans, but dog owners shouldn’t lose any sleep if they suspect or know their pup has Brucellosis. Humans are only at risk if they handle the blood, semen, or uterine discharge of an infected pup (which I’m pretty sure leaves most of us safe, right?). However, humans with immune system deficiencies should steer clear of Brucellosis, as they’re at a heightened level of susceptibility.
Now if all this talk of doggie STDs has left you rattled (and wondering what your pup gets into on the weekend), remain calm.
According to a veterinarian we spoke to from Philadelphia’s Liberty Veterinary Clinic, “a general practice vet will rarely encounter a transmissible venereal disease,” so pup parents are not often cautioned against them, even if they hope to mate their dog.
So yes, STDs are a very real part of the canine world. But no, you won’t be having to have “the talk” with your dog any time soon. 🙂