Can My Dog Catch Mononucleosis From Humans?

James Glover
by James Glover
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QuestionI have recently found out I have mononucleosis. Can my dog Buddy catch it? I know that if he can it is probably too late but I want to look out for symptoms. (Beverly Brimacomb - New York)

Answer

Infectious mononucleosis, sometimes called "the kissing disease," is an infection usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) - a virus of the herpes family. EBV is very common, and many people have been exposed to the virus at some time in childhood and have never displayed any symptoms of mononucleosis. A 2005 study by National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan (published in the Journal of General Virology) investigated Epstein?Barr virus (EBV)-related virus infection in pet dogs and found that indications of EBV-related infection were widespread. However, just as humans can carry viruses such as this and not display symptoms, it seems that most dogs already carry viruses related to this and do not display symptoms. And to my knowledge there are no proven instances of transmission between dogs and humans. In conclusion, if I were you I would not worry too much about this, but it would be prudent to give your dog the same hygiene precautions as you would another human - for example try to minimize him licking your face and similar activities to be safe.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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