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Human Norovirus in Dogs

J. Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM, FCAHS, Ontario Veterinary College, Ontario, Canada

In the literature

Charoenkul K, Nasamran C, Janetanakit T, et al. Human norovirus infection in dogs, Thailand. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020;26(2):350-353.


Norovirus is a common cause of acute GI disease in humans. Numerous norovirus strains have been identified and tend to infect different host species. Canine norovirus strains have been identified with unclear clinical relevance1-4; however, human strains can also be found in dogs, raising zoonotic and animal health risk concerns.5-7

During an investigation into an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis in a dog kennel, 2 children living in a household located on kennel premises had developed GI disease and were hospitalized. The children were diagnosed with norovirus infection and recovered uneventfully; however, over a period beginning 9 days after the children became ill, 2 dams that had been brought from the kennel into the house developed GI disease, as did 5 out of 6 puppies from one of the dams. Norovirus was detected in the feces of all the sick dogs. Whole-genome sequencing of samples from 2 dogs and the 2 children was performed. The human and canine viruses were virtually identical and identified as the human-associated genotype GII-4.


Key pearls to put into practice:


Human norovirus is a potential but likely rare enteropathogen in dogs.


Humans with norovirus infection should follow good infection-control practices to prevent transmission to humans and animals.



The risk posed by dogs owned by humans with norovirus is unknown, as the prevalence of norovirus shedding in dogs belonging to infected humans has not been adequately investigated. Because infected dogs can shed human norovirus for ≥1 weeks, good hygiene practices, especially hand hygiene and proper fecal handling, should be emphasized around diarrheic dogs and dogs that have had contact with humans with norovirus infection.


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