There is a mumps outbreak in the Midwestern US with over 1000 cases in Iowa. Mumps is caused by a virus that infects the salivary glands so that they swell. Normally it takes 2-3 weeks to develop symptoms after being exposed. Symptoms include difficulty swallowing, aches and fevers. Most recover over a few days, but occasionally encephalitis and other complications occur. Symptoms usually clear in 2-10 days. There is a vaccine for humans.
Although it is rare, mumps can be transmitted from humans to dogs. This is called a zooanthroponosis because it passes to animals (zoo) from humans (anthro). Because a mumps infection is caused by a virus (paramyxovirus), no antibiotics are helpful. Still, there are steps to take to ensure your dog does not become ill if it catches the mumps from you. For example, feed small amounts of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables (blueberries, broccoli, sweet potatoes). Use supplements if your pet needs special immune support, such as Maitake-DMG and Be Well. Maitake-DMG contains mushrooms and Be Well contains decaffeinated green tea and 1000 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids.
Signs that your dog has mumps are similar to signs that a person has mumps: swollen throat, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, fever, ear ache and headache. If the disease progresses, the dog may experience neurologic symptoms including meningitis, confusion, and paralysis. Supportive therapy, such as feeding homemade chicken broth and puréed foods will help. Your veterinarian may recommend aspirin for fever and pain or the homeopathic, Traumeel.
There are over 80 infections that travel between humans and dogs and over 70 that travel between humans and cats. Some infections come from a common source, such as the soil (cryptosporidia), other infections come from insects (lyme disease). Ringworm is one of the most common zoonotic infections that travels from directly from pets to people, often from asymptomatic cats to people.
If you are concerned about disease transmission to your pet or from your pet to you, keep your pet healthy. Pets with basic good health are less likely to become infected, and less likely to spread infections. You will find more about two zoonotic diseases, Lyme Disease and Rabies.