Can Dogs Get Norovirus?

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Ever had a really bad stomach flu? Did you spend days basically hugging your toilet? You may have had norovirus. This nasty infection is often known as “food poisoning”, as it easily can jump from improperly handled food to unprepared eaters. Norovirus is super contagious and you can get it over and over again. It sounds terrible, and it definitely is! But can dogs get the tummy troubles caused by norovirus? Let's find out.

Can Dogs Get Norovirus?

YES!

Although the details aren't really understood yet, norovirus has been confirmed in some dogs. There is even a chance that dogs and people could be passing this virus back and forth, but this hasn't been confirmed yet. What is for sure is that norovirus can bind to a dog's stomach cells, which is how any norovirus infection begins. This leads to inflammation and a whole bunch of nastiness for both pup and owner.

Does My Dog Have Norovirus?

In most cases, you'll never know for sure. Norovirus doesn't usually last long enough to merit a trip to the vet. However, there are some signs that indicate that your dog is infected. Any dog with stomach or intestine irritation will likely be making messes everywhere. Both vomiting and diarrhea are the most common signs of norovirus.

Your dog may get norovirus after finding poop that is carrying the infection. Food that has been contaminated also has the potential to make your pooch’s tummy turn. Testing for norovirus in dogs is not a common practice yet, so unless your dog is in a University study, it's not likely that the virus will be confirmed.

If you're looking for details on stomach irritation, check out this article: Stomach and Intestinal Inflammation in Dogs .

How Do I Treat My Dog's Norovirus?

As with all viruses, you can not cure the problem, you can only help your dog get through the illness. Dogs with strong immune systems have the best chance of making a quick recovery.

There are some medications that can reduce irritation in the stomach. Other medicines can take away some of your dog's nausea. That being said, the number one thing to do when your dog is spewing everywhere is to make sure he drinks! Dehydration can be worse for the pooch than the actual virus.

Thankfully, norovirus does not last long. It generally works its way out in a couple of days. At this time, it isn't known how contagious a dog with norovirus is, but to be safe you should probably keep your pup away from other dogs for up to a week after it has been sick.

To read other owners’ experiences with tummy viruses, and to ask your own questions to a real, live vet, head over to our guide to stomach and intestinal inflammation.

How Is Norovirus Similar in Dogs and Humans?

It's thought that the same strains of norovirus make humans and canines super sick. This means that the whole family may find themselves leaking at both ends after a norovirus outbreak. Similarities include:

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea (which can be bloody)

  • Dehydration

  • Lethargy

How Is Norovirus Different in Dogs and Humans?

The reason that the details of Norovirus in dogs are unknown is because the virus seems to develop a bit differently in those who bark. Notable differences are:

  • Dogs don't seem to shed the virus in their poop, while humans do

  • Dogs don't seem to get as sick from it as people do

  • The binding process may be different in dogs than it is in their owners

Case Study

Norovirus can definitely spread from dog to dog. One kennel in Greece experienced an outbreak of really sick puppies. Baffled by the illness, the kennel workers had vets come in to determine the cause of the sickness. After many tests were done, the vets discovered that all of the dogs had been infected with norovirus! All of the affected dogs were under four months old, which made them extra susceptible to the virus.