Can humans catch HGE from dogs? Essential Tips

What Dogs Are Affected by HGE?

Any dog breed may be affected, yet cases in middle-aged Yorkshire terriers, Schnauzers, Dachshunds, or Poodles may be more prevalent. Dogs with food allergies may also be more likely to experience HGE.

How is HGE Treated?

Your vet will continue to deliver injectable fluids until your dog has stabilized; anti-nausea medication (such as Cerenia) and antibiotics to prevent secondary infection (such as ampicillin, enrofloxacin, or metronidazole) may also be administered. Once your dog has stopped vomiting, a bland diet will be given for a few days and then transitioned to your dog’s regular, well-balanced diet once HGE has run its course.

For their study, Caddy and colleagues used noninfectious human norovirus particles – comprising just the bug’s outer protein coat, or capsid. The capsid is the part of the virus that binds to host cells. Capsids alone cannot cause infection because they lack the internal machinery of the virus.

It is currently not known whether human norovirus can cause clinical disease in dogs. Assuming that it can, the study found no evidence that dogs can shed it in sufficient quantities to infect humans. However, the authors note that other studies have suggested as few as 18 virus particles can cause human infection.

There is also little evidence that dogs or animals are involved in spreading norovirus among people when large outbreaks occur, such as on cruise ships and in hospitals.

Caddy says she got interested in doing the study through her experience as a small animal veterinarian and dog owner. She says in her practice, dog owners often ask her if their dogs can pass infections onto them or whether they can pass them to their pets. She adds:

Writing in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, veterinarian Sarah Caddy and colleagues explain how they found some dogs can mount an immune response to human norovirus – a strong clue that they have been infected by the bug.

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