WXYZ News Detroit has reported that several dogs in the Ann Arbor area have died as a result of a new virus. The vets are suggesting it may spread from humans to dogs but (personally)….this is a bit unlikely unless the virus has managed a serious feat of mutation. Dog physiology is very different from humans, limiting the ability of viruses to jump between species (except for swine…that’s why they are often used as human analogs). Typically, viruses must infect an intermediate physiologically to humans (eg. a pig) and undergo genetic reassortment (preferably with a virus that CAN infect humans) before they can become an issue for us. Of course this is not ALWAYS the case (eg. bird flu) but direct transmission from animals to humans is rare (unlike bacteria….lots of bacteria can harm both animals and humans). The “backwards” jump from humans to pets is even more unusual. Only time (and research) can tell us what is really going on….
Regardless, be on the lookout for any signs of illness in your dog (especially if you are in Michigan) and visit your vet if you have any concerns. Also, it always helps (pets and people) to prevent illnesses by frequent handwashing!