Rumors are churning in carpool lines and online that dogs can be carriers for strep throat. Dogs can easily catch kennel cough, which doesn’t spread to humans, but can they spread strep?
The short answer is… not really. However, a throat culture or round of antibiotics won’t hurt the animal if you need to be sure.
But my pediatrician said…
Pediatricians may say your dog could be the reason your kid has strep, but I think it’s unlikely. Before joining the ranks of animal surgeons, I was a scientist at the University of Minnesota working on gene therapies for childhood leukemia. As a biologist developing immunotherapies for cancer treatments, I know the ins and outs of immune systems. As a veterinarian, I also understand animal biology. If you don’t believe me, even the Center for Disease Control thinks Fido probably isn’t a carrier.
But my family has recurring strep. It has to be the dog!
Before you blame the dog, consider how many kids at your child’s school also had strep recently. Isn’t it more likely that kids spread it easily among other kids in the classroom, at the lunch table, or on the bus?
You can always ask your vet clinic for a throat culture and basic antibiotic.
Your local pet clinic can do a simple throat culture on Fido, or go straight to a few days of amoxicillin, which should resolve any potential strep the pup might possibly be harboring. I have done that in several cases just to clear the dogs of suspicion. If your pet is a patient at LazyPaw Animal Hospitals we make prescriptions easy with an online pharmacy that delivers medicines right to your door.
After illness in the house, give Fido a bath.
If your family has been sick, it’s a good idea to wash linens and rid household surfaces of bacteria with a strong cleanser by wiping down bathrooms, light switches and doorknobs. However, most people don’t think to give the dog a bath, even though Fido has likely been sleeping at the foot of the bed and cuddled with ill children. As you refresh your home after sickness, give Fido a good groom so every member of the family feels clean—and so no germs linger in fur.
In short, you don’t need to fret about Fido and strep. Germs can come from everywhere, and kids are more likely to get strep from the school bus than your Labrador.