Let’s face it: dogs are inquisitive animals and they like being around other farm animals, so you may be wondering whether dogs can get sick from chickens. This question is a good one considering that poultry have been known for transmitting various diseases to humans. In dogs, things can get even trickier, considering that many dogs not only like to be around chickens, but they also enjoy eating chicken dropping, (yeah, pretty gross, especially from a human perspective!) which brings health concerns to a whole different level. So we asked veterinarian Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic whether chickens can make a dog sick.
Can Dogs Get Sick from Being Around Chickens?
Just being around chicken won’t get your dog sick; for starters dogs are not susceptible to avian influenza (AI) viruses. But, close contact and eating chickens poop can give your dog a number of different diseases.
Birds that live in good conditions and are treated according to the principles of good veterinary practice generally do not get sick but sometimes even they can carry diseases.
Some of the major diseases that birds carry and can transmit to dogs are:
What exactly is aspergillosis and how does it affect dogs? This fungus is often found in wet and dirty bird cages, and therefore, good hygiene is the primary strategy for prevention of the disease .
The disease affects dogs by attacking the dog’s lungs and respiratory system.
“Aspergillosis begins when susceptible dogs inhale mold spores [often found in compost piles, stables, and barns]. In some dogs, the spores trigger an allergic reaction. In others, the spores cause an infection. Most infections localize in the nose, while some dogs develop mild to serious lung infections.” ~VCA Animal Hospital
Histoplasmosis is another fungal pathogen that affects dogs through the same way as aspergillosis. Dogs usually ingest the fungus when they eat or inhale contaminated soil or bird droppings. The difference from aspergillosis is that the target organ in this disease is the digestive tract rather than the respiratory system.
“Histoplasma prefers areas that are moist and humid and grows best in soils that contain nitrogen-rich organic matter such as bird or bat droppings. It has been identified in the soil of 31 states in the U.S. Most infections occur in the region of the Ohio, Missouri, and Mississippi rivers.”~ Pet Education
Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract of many different species of animals caused by protozoa. Dogs can get coccidiosis from eating the droppings of coccidia-infected chickens.
Can dogs get salmonella from ingesting chicken poop? This bacterial disease is zoonotic, which means it can be transmitted to humans; both dogs and cats are susceptible to Salmonella species. Your dog can get sick from eating the droppings of sick chickens.
” While many rural dogs do this [eating chicken poop] and appear to come to no harm there are a couple of dangers. Chicken feces and that of the Guinea Fowl may well be contaminated with the liked of Salmonella or coccidia… Symptoms would include vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy and anorexia.” ~Dr. Scott Nimmo, veterinarian
About the Author
DVM Ivana Vukasinovic is a veterinarian in Belgrade, capital city of Serbia.
She received her B.S from University of Belgrade in 2012, and her master’s degree from Veterinary University, Belgrade.
Before eventually becoming director of Vetanima Doo, company that sells animal food, medicine and supplements, she has worked in many different fields of sales.
After finishing college, she started working as sales person in the biggest Serbian bookshop chain, and being passionate about books, she had reached the position of publisher.
After leaving this field, she started working as a veterinary commercialist, and then landing a job as veterinarian at veterinary pharmacy, in the same company in which she is now acting as director.
When she is not working, she is either glued to some fantasy book or cooking for friends. She currently resides in Belgrade with her cat Mile.