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Plague  Lesson 7
 Veterinarian Issues

Dogs and Ungulates

  • Although dogs have never been demonstrated to be sources of infection for humans, they can become infected with Y. pestis and develop antibodies to this bacterium.
  • Occasionally dogs exhibit clinical signs of illness, including lesions that could pose a risk of contagion.
  • Probably the greatest plague-related threat posed by dogs is that they will transport Y. pestis-infected fleas or rodent or rabbit carcasses into residential environments.
  • Y. pestis infections are rarely identified in ungulates (animals with hooves) in the United States, and these animals probably pose relatively little risk to humans.
  • Any ungulate, however, that becomes seriously ill or dies under suspicious circumstances following an intentional release of plague should be examined to determine whether it was infected with Y. pestis.
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Dog with submandibular lymph node recovering from plague.

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Page last reviewed February 12, 2007
Page last modified September 7, 2004

  • Content source: CDC Emergency Risk Communication Branch (ERCB), Division of Emergency Operations (DEO), National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)
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