STDs contracted from dogs difficult to treat, physicians warn

The National Coordinator, National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Programme, Dr.Chukwuma Anyaike, has cautioned that it is dangerous for humans to have sex with animals

He warns that there are diseases that are peculiar to animals, noting that humans should avoid getting infected with such infections.

The expert noted that these diseases can become a major health challenge when contracted by humans.

Anyaike, who is a Consultant Public Health Physician, also stressed that some sexually transmitted diseases in animals like dogs can become very difficult to treat when contracted by humans.

Besides the risk of contracting STDs, the physician said people who have sex with dogs are at risk of transmissible diseases such as rabies, skin diseases and ringworms.

The physician was reacting to a viral video of a lady claiming to have made N1.7m from sleeping with a dog in an exclusive interview with PUNCH HealthWise.

The slim, light-skinned lady in the video said there was no big deal about engaging in bestiality.

However, while condemning the act, Dr. Anyaike told our correspondent that everything was wrong with bestiality, stressing that having sex with an animal comes with serious health consequences. 

The physician said, “Any disease can come out from an animal and it can enter into a man. When it enters into man, then we start struggling with another evolution and how to take care of it. Coronavirus and Avian Influenza come from animals.

“Any disease that is common in an animal can come to man and if it comes to man, it becomes another evolution because it is not common to man. 

“A disease that is common in animals, they have a way of growing with it but when it comes to man, it becomes another problem. 

“Some of the STDs in animals when they come to man, they are difficult to treat.”

According to him, some diseases are peculiar to animals and some are peculiar to man.

Anyaike, said, “Apart from other transmissible diseases from dogs such as rabies, skin diseases including ringworms (fungal infection) there are three common canine STDs.

“These are also zoonotic meaning that they can be transmitted from animals to man. 

“First is Canine Brucellosis. Brucellosis is a disease caused by a bacterium, Brucella canis.

“It is found throughout the world. It is spread through contact with aborted foetuses and discharges from the uterus of an infected dog during mating, through maternal milk, and possibly through airborne transmission in some cases.

“It’s important to note that Canine Brucellosis can be spread to humans. Brucellosis can lead to liver disease and arthritis. Brucellosis is very difficult to treat successfully.”

The physician also identified Canine Herpesvirus as another common STD that humans could get from dogs.

According to him, it is a condition that spreads through mucus in the mouth and nose of the dog.

He noted that biting, licking and sniffing are additional ways the canine sexually transmitted disease spreads.

Dr. Anyaike also listed Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumors or CTVT as another disease that can be contracted by a human who has sex with a dog, adding that it is a sexually transmitted cancer. 

“It can also spread through biting, licking and sniffing the penile or vaginal areas. Treatment involves chemotherapy or radiation.

“Chemotherapy for the sexually transmitted disease is the first option, and if that fails to work, radiation will be used,” he said.

Suggesting the way forward, the physician said the principle of One Health should always be borne ‘in our minds’ to avoid emerging infectious diseases that may become pandemic.

“One Health is defined as a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach — working at the local, regional, national, and global levels — with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes by recognising the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment,” he said.

According to lawyers, the Criminal Code Act and the Penal Code Act criminalise sleeping with an animal.

According to the lawyers, it is a crime that attracts up to 14 years imprisonment in Nigeria.

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