Pets and Capnocytophaga Germs

Most dogs and many cats have Capnocytophaga and other germs in their mouths (oral flora). These germs do not make the animals sick. Animals can be tested to see if they have Capnocytophaga germs, but a negative result may not mean the animal will always be negative – and the same is true for a positive result. Although animals could be given medicine to get rid of the germs in the short term, they will likely get them again after contact with other animals.

Having pets like dogs and cats has many benefits. Most contact with dogs and cats does not lead to a Capnocytophaga infection or any illness, even after a bite. But, you should take precautions if you have contact with animals, especially if you have a condition that puts you at higher risk of infection.

CDC’s Healthy Pets Healthy People has safety tips for safer contact with pets. Also, speak with your doctor about how to protect yourself when you have contact with animals based on your health status.

image of a dog licking his owners face