Venereal Disease in Dogs

Dogs can contract several different kinds of venereal disease, including Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumor (CTVT), canine brucellosis and canine herpes. One of the best ways of preventing your dog from contracting a venereal disease is to have him or her de-sexed. This will also improve the health of your dog in other ways and prevent unwanted puppies. However, for those who wish to breed their dogs, venereal disease can be a real concern.

Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumor

CTVT is a form of cancer which can be transmitted to your dog through contact with other infected animals. This disease is caused by the cancer cells themselves which cannot live away from the host, so direct contact with a tumor through mating, nose or mouth contact is necessary for transmission. Your dog can catch this disease from other canines like foxes or coyotes, and it is more common in tropical and semi-tropical areas.  CTVT appears as a cauliflower-like growth on the genitals or sometimes on the nose or mouth, sometimes accompanied by discharge. It is particularly dangerous for puppies, as it has a higher chance of metastasizing to other parts of the body. If you suspect your dog has CTVT you should get it treated at a vet and prevent any contact with other dogs. CTVT can be successfully treated with chemotherapy or surgery.

Canine Herpes

Usually simply being infected by the canine herpes virus will not harm your dog. However, if your dog is pregnant, it can cause her to abort the puppies, or even affect them after birth. Canine herpes can be spread by any contact with the genitals, so if your dog is pregnant, do not allow her to have contact with other dogs in the last three weeks of her pregnancy. Being infected when she is not pregnant will generally not harm your dog.

Canine Brucellosis

Brucellosis is a particularly dangerous disease in breeding dogs as it can be transmitted to humans as well. Before breeding your dog you should have him or her tested for brucellosis and insist on a test for the potential partner as well. Brucellosis can be transmitted through mating, or it can be transmitted through contact with infected urine, or genital secretions or placenta/fetal membranes. Pregnant dogs often abort their litters when they are infected with brucellosis, and adult dogs may have enlarged lymph nodes. Brucellosis can lead to other deadly diseases and is generally considered a lifelong condition.

Breeding your dog will require him or her to have extended contact with another dog, so many other diseases can potentially be transmitted through saliva, fur to fur contact or contact with feces or urine. If you intend to breed your dog, you should require a full health checkup of the potential partner, including tests for any common canine diseases in your area, and particularly those which can affect a breeding female, or puppies. Vaccinations, when possible, for your dog and his or her partner are also a good idea, but de-sexing your dog is the only sure way of preventing infection with venereal disease.