Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Dogs: Which Are the Most Common?

Sexually transmitted diseases can also affect animals, including dogs. Learn all about them in this interesting and informative article!
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Dogs: Which Are the Most Common?

Last update: 24 February, 2021

Sex education in humans is common nowadays, due to the numerous STD prevention campaigns that exist. However, have you ever wondered if sexually transmitted diseases also affect dogs?

The answer is yes. It’s important for you to know what sexually transmitted diseases your dog can catch, especially when it’s in heat. If you want to know about the most common STDs in dogs, keep reading.

The three sexually transmitted diseases that affect dogs

As you’ll see, some of these STDs aren’t only transmitted sexually. So, pay close attention to the ways they can be prevented.

A dog sniffing another dog.

1. Canine brucellosis

The Brucella canis bacteria causes this STD. It’s transmitted through canine semen and vaginal secretions, as well as oronasal and conjunctival mucosa. It can be transmitted vertically, from female dog to fetus through the placenta, or horizontally, from one dog to another. This bacterium is found throughout the world.

The most common symptom of the condition is infertility. In fact, this bacterium was identified in the United States due to all the sterile dogs that were reported in 1966 during an outbreak. Here are the most common symptoms:

  • Males. Testicular swelling or orchitis and inflammation of the epididymis (epididymitis). Both trigger infertility in dogs.
  • Females. This bacteria can cause miscarriages and subsequent infertility.

This STD in dogs is zoonotic, meaning it can be transmitted to humans. Thus, every owner must be cautious when handling the sick animal. This condition is easy to treat and cure.

2. Canine herpes virus (CHV)

This virus affects puppies before they’re born. If the mother contracts canine herpes virus (CHV) during pregnancy, the puppies will suffer breathing difficulties, vomiting, and poor appetite, with a death rate of up to 100% in the infected litter.

Therefore, it’s important to test dogs before they become pregnant, as this disease can also cause miscarriage and canine fetal reabsorption. It doesn’t usually cause major problems in adult dogs, but almost all sick puppies die and the prognosis of the survivors is very bad.

This STD in dogs doesn’t only spread sexually. In fact, dogs can also contract it by biting, licking, or sniffing other carrier dogs, as it can spread through oral and nasal secretions.

3. Canine transmissible venereal tumor (TVT)

Also known as transmissible venereal tumors (TVTs), canine transmissible venereal sarcoma (CTVS), sticker tumors, and infectious sarcoma, they can also be transmitted through body fluids such as saliva. Most commonly seen in sexually active dogs in tropical and subtropical climates.

This disease causes benign tumors with a rough, wart-like appearance in the genitals, which continuously reproduces and grows.

Vets usually treat these tumors with chemotherapy, since the location of these tumors make them difficult to surgically remove. Although it isn’t a life-threatening disease, it’s important to prevent it, as it can have serious consequences.

Prevention of sexually transmitted diseases in dogs

The first step to the prevention of these diseases involves knowing about them and how they appear, since, as we explained here, they may also be transmitted by nonsexual contact. If you suspect any of these diseases in your dogs, it’s essential for you to take them to a veterinarian.

We also need to emphasize that, if you neuter your dog, you’ll reduce mating behaviors, which will greatly minimize the likelihood of contagion. If you want to cross dogs for reproductive purposes, you should test both dogs beforehand to rule out these diseases.

In the case of canine herpes virus (CHV), if a female dog has had a miscarriage, it’s important to disinfect the areas where she’s been to avoid contaminating other dogs. In addition, there’s a vaccine for pregnant females, and it’s available in Europe.

A dog under a blanket.

As you may have seen, although not many STDs affect dogs, it’s very important to know about them. Be careful with your dog’s sexual encounters, as this is the only way to prevent these diseases.

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