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Can Dogs Get Mad Cow Disease?


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Mad cow disease, otherwise known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), has been in the news in recent years. This disease is caused by ingesting infected beef. Cows who suffer from this disease usually die within six months. Humans have, in recent years, also been affected by mad cow disease. It took years and several human deaths for the United States to regulate the beef products in our food supply. Beef suppliers are no longer allowed to use spinal cord or brain material in food sources, and cows which are deemed unhealthy and dying cannot be used in human food supply. These regulations have diminished the risk of humans developing mad cow disease. But the pet food supply chain does not have the same restrictions as the human food supply does. If you feed your dog manufactured dog food, you might be worried about whether your dog can be affected by mad cow disease.

Can Dogs Get Mad Cow Disease?

Some researchers say mad cow can affect any animal who eats beef. But the general consensus as of late is that dogs are not susceptible to mad cow disease. Cats, however, are not as lucky. Mad cow disease manifests itself in humans as a deadly disease that affects the brain just as it does with cows. Unfortunately, mad cow disease is a rather new condition in the world of research science. It usually takes years to confirm scientific findings and theories. As of now, researchers are trying to link Alzheimer's in humans to mad cow disease. Some of those researchers are also trying to link dementia in dogs to mad cow disease as well. It’s difficult living in a time of new disease, as research and cures are still taking place, however, the general consensus in the scientific community is your dog is not at risk for mad cow disease despite the lack of pet food regulations.

Does My Dog Have Mad Cow Disease?

Mad cow disease has symptoms that mimic other diseases. Since mad cow affects the brain, one infected would display cognitive disorders. However, science is showing dogs are not contracting mad cow disease. If your dog is suffering from cognitive troubles or any other signs of illness, please see your veterinarian for a full exam.

We have many guides to signs, symptoms, and diseases you can read about while you are waiting for your veterinary appointment.

How Do I Treat My Dog’s Mad Cow Disease?

Mad cow disease in animals who contract it is fatal. Cows who are found with BSE, or mad cow disease, do not live much beyond six months after signs and symptoms are discovered. Though there is some speculation about mad cow showing in random dogs, most scientists agree that though cats and humans can contract it, mad cow disease is not showing in dogs.

Case Study

Pet food recalls are in the news almost weekly. The United States does not regulate pet foods in the same way human foods are regulated. It can be scary when your pet's food is recalled. A dog who has eaten meals from a bag or from cans of recalled food may become sick or potentially die from ingested food which is later recalled. But if food is recalled for mad cow tainted beef, studies are showing your dog will not contract the disease.

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