If you and your family are suffering recurrent battles with strep throat, there's a slim but real possibility that you're getting the disease from Fido. The good news is that treating your dog for streptococcal infections isn't difficult -- it's much the same treatment you receive from your doctor.
Canine Strep Carriers
Even though dogs can develop strep infections, it's more likely that the animal potentially spreading strep to his family is completely asymptomatic. To spread strep to people, he would have to carry the Streptococci A B-hemolytic form, while dogs usually carry different types of strep, primarily Streptococcus canis.
Canine Strep Symptoms
Dogs with active cases of strep are generally quite young or quite old, as an adult dog's immune system is generally healthy enough to ward off the disease. Symptoms include:
- swallowing difficulties
- or abscesses.
In some dogs, strep can develop into pneumonia. Treatment involves antibiotic therapy, often a broad spectrum antibiotic given for 10 days, and possibly intravenous fluid therapy to rehydrate the patient. Feed your dog canned dog food mixed with water to sooth his throat.
When to Suspect Fido
If your family includes young children, it's not unusual for strep cases to recur. As every parent knows, young kids pick up infections easily, usually from exposure to sick children at daycare or school. Still, if strep infections in the family become almost chronic, it won't hurt to have your dog's throat cultured by your vet. At the same time, your doctor must take cultures from the throats of family members. If both humans and canines are carrying the same form of the strep bacteria, appropriate antibiotic prescriptions for all -- from the vet and the physician -- may get rid of the problem for good. Of course, your vet and your doctor must work in conjunction, since there is no point in treating one set of strep carriers and not the other.
Keep in mind that it is unlikely your constant battle with strep has anything to do with your dog. Only a few such cases have ever been documented.