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Can my dog catch mononucleosis from humans?

Updated on February 17, 2012

After a physical exam and after a blood test called monospot test were done, you found out that the sore throat, the tiredness and fever were not caused by flu. The enlarged liver and spleen as well as the swollen lymph nodes are signs that you have the kissing disease. Mononucleosis is a highly contagious viral infection. Knowing that the disease can be transmitted by kissing another person, you have refrained kissing your girlfriend. However, you were not able to tell your dog that waking you up with sloppy kisses is a NO, NO! Can the dog catch your mononucleosis? Fortunately, no!

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What is mononucleosis?

Mononucleosis, otherwise known as mono or the kissing diseases is caused by virus that belongs to the herpes family, the Epstein-Barr virus. This infection affects the lymph nodes around the neck, on the underarms and lymph nodes on the groin. This viral disease usually occurs when the body’s immune system is strongest so that the disease is more often seen in adolescents and in young adults 15 to 25 of age. Once the virus is acquired, it will stay in the person as long as he/she lives. The good news is that the disease is non-recurring. The symptoms can manifest for weeks but humans would only have this disease once.

Symptoms of mononucleosis

Some people that have the virus may not show any symptoms at all. However, the symptoms can keep some people down for weeks. About ten days after exposure to the virus, an infected person will start to have fever, sore throat due to the swollen lymph nodes on the neck area. The infected person may vomit, have an upset stomach. Extreme fatigue, muscle aches, loss of appetite are the other symptoms. A physical examination will show an enlarged liver and spleen.

How is mononucleosis transmitted?

The Epstein-Barr virus is found in the saliva. Mononucleosis is a common viral disease but it is not airborne. The virus is transmitted through oral contact. By sharing eating utensils, drinking from the same straw or from a contaminated glass, sharing toothbrush and lipsticks, an infected person can easily transmit the disease to another. This viral infection is commonly known as the kissing disease as the virus can be transmitted by kissing an infected person.

Can humans transmit the kissing disease to dog?

Dogs are very sweet animals. Dogs bond closely with the human family especially with the children. Older folks may know better and would not allow the dog to kiss and to lick their faces fearing the transmission of zoonotic diseases. Dogs and children though form a legendary attachment thus a kid would be seen not only cuddling or petting a dog but kissing the pet and being kissed by the pet as well. Fortunately, the virus causing mononucleosis cannot be transmitted to dogs. Studies conducted have shown that dogs may carry the virus but it was not transmitted by an infected human. Further, dogs may have EBV without being weighed down by the symptoms.

It seems that only humans (and not dogs) are the ones that can catch the virus easily. You have the kissing disease? Make do with kissing the dog for a while. The hardy dog won’t catch the disease anyway.


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