There are six main diseases dogs can catch from rats. Most of these present serious health risks to dogs, and all are potentially fatal if passed on to humans. For these reasons dogs should be kept out of contact with rats as much as possible. Seek veterinary attention, and a physician's advice, immediately if you suspect your dog has any of these diseases.
Two types of bacteria from the Leptospires group cause this disease. Rats carry these bacteria, and dogs can be infected by biting or eating infected rats. They can also catch this disease through rat urine in puddles, ponds and on the ground. The symptoms of this disease include a high temperature, severe thirst, bloody diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain and possible death. Dogs can, in turn, pass this disease on to humans in the form of Weil's Disease.
Rat Bite Fever
According to Iowa State University's Center for Food Security and Public Health, the bacteria streptobacillus moniliformis causes rat bite fever. Dogs can catch this disease through biting or eating infected rats and by consuming food or water contaminated with rat faeces or urine. They do not show any symptoms, but they do act as a carrier for the disease and can pass it to humans.
The bacteria Francisella tularensis causes this disease. Dogs can catch this disease by eating infected rats, or by drinking contaminated water. The symptoms of this disease include a fever, refusal to eat, a cough, vomiting, diarrhoea and possibly death. Dogs can pass this disease to humans.
The bacteria Yersinia pestis causes these diseases. Dogs can catch this disease when an infected rodent flea bites it. Usually dogs do not show any symptoms, but they can become a carrier of the disease by carrying infected fleas and can pass it to humans.
The bacteria Salmonella causes this disease. The National Center For Infectious Diseases states that dogs can catch this disease through the fecal matter of rats. The symptoms may include a fever, diarrhoea, dehydration, shock and possible death. Dogs can pass this disease to humans through their faeces.
The rabies virus causes this disease. Dogs can catch this disease through the saliva of an infected rat. Most commonly rats give this disease to dogs by biting them. The symptoms may include radical changes in behaviour, paralysis of the legs, drooling and an extreme reaction to light or noise. Death will certainly occur within 10 days. Dogs can pass this disease to humans through their saliva.