August 21, 2016

Pet Dog May Cause Recurrent Strep Throat

Image courtesy of alex_ugalek
In rare situations, strep throat infection bounces repeatedly among all family members. In such situations, the family's pet dog may be the carrier for strep that may cause such recurrent strep infections among the children and parents. See references below.

Fortunately, in the vast majority of situations, the pet dog has no role in recurrent strep throat infections. Indeed, many healthcare professionals are in fact skeptical that the dog has any role.

Personally, I'm a semi-skeptic, but open-minded to the possibility.

In any case, should the dog become a suspect, the vet should obtain cultures from not only the tonsils, but also the eyes and anus. Should cultures come back positive to human strep, the dog should be given antibiotics.

Otherwise, interventions that may help when a family suffers from recurrent strep throat include antibiotics given to all family members simultaneously as well as performing tonsillectomy in the family member who seems to get strep throat the most which often breaks this distressing intra-familial cycle.

Personal Health. NYT 3/20/1996

Watch a video showing how a tonsillectomy is performed here!

Recurrent pharyngitis in family of four. Household pet as reservoir of group A streptococci. Postgrad Med. 1983 Jul;74(1):277-9.

Group A streptococci in household pets' eyes--a source of infection in humans? Scand J Infect Dis. 1997;29(5):469-71.

The family pet as an unlikely source of group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal infection in humans. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1995 May;14(5):372-5.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

Banner Map

Pediatric Neck Masses

Adult Neck Mass Workup