Q): Is My Deceased Dog Contagious To My Other Dog?

On today's episode of Twin Trees Vet Talk, we welcome our special guest and dear friend Dr. Katie Buss. Dr. Buss is a small animal veterinarian and winner of the "My Vet’s the Best," a nationwide contest that honours veterinarians for their outstanding service. She helps us answer the question:

Q) Is My Deceased Dog Contagious?

There are many diseases that affect pets that can be infectious to other pets and people.

Most of these diseases can be prevented (and avoided altogether) with proper preventative care- vaccination and parasite control.

In pets, the main diseases to mention are parvo, distemper, rabies, fungal infections (ringworm), leptospirosis, feline coronavirus, FeLV, FIV, feline herpes virus, ticks, fleas, mites (mange), and intestinal parasites. If you work closely with your veterinarian (to ensure your pet receives the proper vaccinations and parasite control) and practice good hygiene (handwashing, cleaning up pet feces, not eating undercooked meat) you can usually avoid these diseases altogether.


Dr. Lopez: What about this one: Vivian: "I want to make sure that my dog that just passed wasn't contagious to my other dog"

Dr. Buss: "I think it would matter what the symptoms were of the dog before passing.

Dr. Lopez: oh does it help determine that judging death or was it sick is that what you're asking?

Dr. Buss:  Yeah 

Dr. Lopez: In most places you can just take your pet to your veterinarian and they can arrange for it to be submitted for testing.  For the most part we all work with diagnostic labs- they can do an autopsy (called a necropsy in pets).  Infectious diseases that might pose a risk to other pets or even people?- there are a lot of them

Dr. Buss: Yeah a lot of respiratory symptom ones and GI signs would be big but also things that can pass through the urinary tract so there are definitely a lot of them that was a concern.

Dr. Lopez:  And then dogs are always kind of sentinels of their environment too, so sometimes if they come into contact with a toxin that could mean that it's present somewhere in the environment. So like if you just showed up at home and you encounter a pet that's deceased and there's no explanation... in the worst case scenario game always I'm like, could there be carbon monoxide you know or something like that, so always proceed with caution and consider those things. 

WELCOME TO TWIN TREES VET TALK! Join us LIVE every Sunday 5:30-6pm PST. An informal chat with Dr. Lopez (Emergency Veterinarian) and friends to share our perspective on pet predicaments, being a veterinarian, our shared love for animals and more! Have a quick question? Want to run something by us? Or just need our two cents? This is your chance! Enter your questions here. and each week we will select a handful of questions to answer.



1) DON'T WAIT TOO LONG TO GET HELP! If you wait too long, it could be too late. This is especially true for concerns such as laboured breathing, pale gums and weakness. You know your pet best, so if you are worried or concerned, "when in doubt, check it out!"

2) PREVENT THE PREVENTABLE. Learn as much as possible about dangers that face your pet, such as household poisons, seemingly harmless objects (like toys, clothing, garbage and rocks), other animals, and vehicles. Pets are like toddlers and they need a responsible adult/babysitter to protect them from danger. Puppies and kittens need to start their vaccines at ~8 WEEKS (and they need boosters too!) to protect them from deadly diseases.

3) BE PREPARED FOR THE WORST CASE SCENARIO. Have a plan in place, know your nearest emergency clinic, have the ASPCA phone number on speed dial. Know basic first aid training and CPR. But MOST IMPORTANTLY, BE FINANCIALLY PREPARED. The cost of medical treatment in an emergency, and the owners' ability to pay for it, is probably the most important factor that determines whether a pet will receive the medical care it needs. The best way to protect yourself is to have good medical insurance for your pet. Do your research.

**REMEMBER**: WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM, with the best interest of the patient as everyone's first priority. Let your vet do what he/she does best, and don't try to grab the steering wheel and obstruct your vet from doing his/her job. We are all in the same car, we are all headed to the same place, but only one of us has the driver's license (meaning, only the vet has the medical training and background to "drive the car"). 


The medical information on this site is provided as an educational resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any veterinarian-client-patient relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Please consult your pet's health care provider before making any health care decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition. Twin Trees Vet expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site.