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hiv antibodies in animals

Dec 1, 2000

Thank you for helping me with regards to the dog bite. My biggest fear is because the puppy's gums were bleeding at the time of both bites (hiv+ child) and myself because the puppy was chewing a stick so I'm afraid the virus went directly into her bloodstream and back into myself when I was bitten as well. I developed two distinct rashes 2 weeks later. One in a straight line with raised bumps and one looking more like a sunburn on the underside of my arm. This has scared me as if it could be early hiv symptoms. I was assured that hiv cannot replicate in animals however so there was no concern but after reading that a dog could develop antibodies to hiv has me very worried. The article that I read states: After years of trying it has proved virtually impossible to get Chimpanzees transfused with HIV positive blood to become sick with aids diseases. Yet their genes are about 98% the same as humans.In other studies dogs and inbred mice were positive for 1 or more hiv antibodies yet had never been infected. Reference is: Strandstrom et al. Studies with canine sera that contain antibodies which recognize human immunodeficiency virus structural proteins. Cancer Res. 1990 Sep 1;50(17 Suppl): 56285-56305.

Response from Mr. Kull

Thanks for the reference. The HIV antibody positivity of the dogs clearly has no correlation to their having HIV or their capacity to INFECT others. Scientists have been able to infect Chimpanzees with HIV and do specific types of studies with them, but Chimps remain asymptomatic.

The following quote is from a resource written by the CDC for people with HIV infection who own pets:

"Can someone with HIV give it to their pets?

No. HIV can not be spread to, from, or by cats, dogs, birds,or other pets. Many viruses cause diseases that are like AIDS, such as feline leukemia virus, or FeLV, in cats. These viruses cause illness only in a certain animal and cannot infect other animals or humans. For example, FeLV infects only cats. It does not infect humans or dogs."

HIV infected people need to be careful with pets, as any immunocompromised person does. HIV infected people are prone to certain opportunistic infections that can be transmitted from pets. For more information on this, please refer to

Pet Owners with HIV/AIDS Resource Service.


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