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Can Dogs Gets Sick From Cats?


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You love your dog and your cat equally. But your cat is sick. Maybe with a trip or two to your veterinarian and some medication, some rest, and tender loving care your cat will be okay. Perhaps the illness your cat is suffering from is more critical. Are you worried about passing this illness on to yourself and to your other pets?

Can dogs get sick from cats?


There are certainly some diseases your cat can pass on to you or to the other pets in your house. But not everything your cat may have is going to be shared with the family dog. Some serious diseases can be passed from your cat to your dog and vice versa. But with good veterinary preventive care, the risk of your dog getting sick from your cat will be relatively small.

cat and dog - can dogs get sick from cats

Does my dog have an illness from cats?

There are very few diseases that will pass between your dog and your cat. However, there are some you should be concerned about if you know your cat has them.

Ringworm is a fungus that can be shared with you and your dog if your cat has it. Because it's a fungus, spores are in the air and could land on the skin of your dog or even yourself. Parasites such as roundworm, tapeworm, hookworm, or whipworm can sometimes pass from cat to dog through fleas that are infected.

Dogs are notorious for taking snacks from the cat’s litter box if it's readily available. If you have a cat that has a parasite and your dog happens to eat your cat’s poop, there is always a chance the dog could get the parasite internally as well.

Rabies is an extremely dangerous virus that can infect anyone within your family, including your dog. Rabies is usually passed from bites and scratches from cat to dog. Mange is also a condition that can be passed from your cat to your dog.

Mange is caused by mites that are often species-specific, so the mites that cause scabies for humans is different than the mites that cause mange for cats or for dogs. But there is one type of mange mite that can pass from your cat to your dog.  

dog and cat lying on the ground together - does my dog have an illness from cats

How do I treat my dog's illness from cats?

Because most diseases are specific for each species, they often don't pass from one species to another. If your cat is sick and you're worried that your dog may contract an illness, be sure to talk to your veterinarian. If your cat has any of the conditions listed above, such as parasites, you may want to treat your dog while you're treating your cat for preventive care or to stop the condition from getting worse in your dog as you treat your cat. For most of those common diseases that can be passed from your cat to your dog, treatment will be very similar for both of your pets. Be sure to check out our condition guides to learn more about treatment options and to get advice from an in-house veterinarian.

If your dog is at risk of getting sick by cats, check out our pet insurance comparison tool. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like FIGO and Nationwide. 

dog and cat sitting on a white couch together - how do I treat my dog's illness from cats

How are illnesses similar in dogs and cats?

Most of the illnesses that are passed from your cat to your dog will manifest in similar ways. Many parasites may be seen in your animal’s feces. You may also notice similar symptoms such as weight loss or lethargy. Symptoms of rabies and mange are similar in all species that get it. Even bacterial infections can show similar signs between species. But just as each person is different, and each person manifests the common cold differently than the next person, you may see signs and symptoms from your dog and cats that differ.

How are illnesses different in dogs and cats?

Because most diseases are species-specific, your cat and your dog will be susceptible to different illnesses. For example, feline leukemia is something your dog will not be vulnerable to. Even things such as mage typically require a different type of mite for a cat to become infected than for a dog to become infected, with the exception of one mite which can pass from your dog to your cat. The best care to give all your pets is prevention, with your veterinarian’s help and guidance.

Case Study

Though some diseases manifest in similar ways, they are often contracted in different ways between species. A family with a cat who has feline panleukopenia virus might worry that their dog could become sick. Their cat has a fever and diarrhea along with other symptoms that are common in various diseases and illnesses. Feline panleukopenia is a very similar disease for cats as canine parvovirus is for dogs. They both have similar symptoms and come from similar sources. However, they are species-specific, so if your cat is sick, it doesn't always mean the dog will be sick as well.

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