Can Dogs Get Shingles?

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You had chickenpox when you were a child. And now you are suffering from the dreaded adult version, shingles. You might be worried about infecting other members of your family, but unlike chicken pox, shingles may not be passed from person to person within your family. Though you probably won't give shingles to your family members, it is possible for you to pass the virus that causes shingles to family members who have not had chickenpox. A person who is exposed to the virus which causes shingles could possibly contract the virus and develop chickenpox. That's probably enough to worry about while you're in pain and discomfort from shingles. But what about your family dog?

Can Dogs Get Shingles?

NO!

Like many viruses that cause illnesses in people and other animals, this conditions is species-specific. The virus that causes shingles and chickenpox is not a virus your dog can contract. However, dogs can contract a canine herpes virus that has very similar symptoms.

Does My Dog Have Canine Herpes Virus?

Though your dog cannot specifically get shingles from the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles in humans, they can get CHV. Canine herpes virus (CHV) can be deadly in newborn puppies. Some adult dogs with CHV will show no signs or symptoms and continue to remain healthy. However, if your newborn puppy is weak, refusing to nurse, has trouble breathing, has nasal discharge, and whines consistently, you may want to have your puppy checked for CHV. The risk of CHV is higher in puppies that are under the age of three weeks.

You can learn more at our guide to Canine Herpes Virus and how it is passed from adult dogs to puppies.

How Do I Treat My Dog’s Canine Herpes Virus?

Because most adult dogs who contract CHV will not show signs or symptoms, you may not know if your dog has it or not. However, if your puppy is showing signs of canine herpes virus, please see your vet immediately for an antiviral medication. CHV thrives in cooler temperatures, so keeping your puppy nice and warm will help to kill the virus. Remember, CHV can be deadly for vulnerable puppies, so see your veterinarian right away.

How is CHV in Dogs Similar to Shingles in Humans?

The virus that causes shingles can be passed among humans, much like CHV can be passed among dogs. However, each virus cannot be is not transferred from humans to dogs or vice versa. However, the conditions can cause similar symptoms, as herpes virus in dogs can cause small blisters on an adult dog's skin that may resemble the rash found with shingles.

How is CHV in Dogs Different from Shingles in Humans?

Chickenpox and shingles is an anthroponotic disease, which means it is a disease that cannot be transmitted from humans to animals. Diseases that can be transferred across animals and humans are known as zoonotic diseases. Though there are skin rashes that may resemble chickenpox and shingles that your dog may suffer, rest assured they will not get shingles.

Case Study

A fifty-five-year-old dog owner, who had chickenpox as a child, develops shingles. He spends the next two weeks in pain suffering from rash and blisters, which scab over quickly and cause him pain, discomfort, itching, tingling, and burning on his skin.

This man has a beautiful three-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever. It's difficult enough for this dog owner to care for himself while he's in so much discomfort and pain from the shingles rash. But he also worries about his dog. With one quick call to his veterinarian, he learns his dog will not contract shingles even though he has it himself. While he recovers with the help of his doctor and antiviral drugs and skin creams, his loyal, devoted yellow lab lays by his side perfectly healthy and safe from shingles.