Bacterial Infection (Campylobacteriosis) in Dogs

PetMD Editorial
July 02, 2008
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Campylobacteriosis in Dogs

Campylobacteriosis is a bacterial infection prevalent in puppies younger than six months old. The bacteria which causes the disease can even be found in the gut (gastrointestinal tract) of healthy dogs and other mammals.

Up to 49 percent of dogs carry campylobacteriosis, shedding it into their feces for other animals to contract. Because of this, humans can contract the disease if they do not practice proper hygiene after coming into contact with an infected animal.

The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms

Causes

There are several known causes of the disease, but the most common is from kennels which allow animals to come into direct contact with contaminated feces. Ingestion of contaminated food or water is another mode of transmission. Younger animals are at a greater risk for contracting the disease because of their underdeveloped immune systems.

Diagnosis

A fecal culture is the most common diagnostic procedure. After 48 hours, veterinarians will examine the culture to look for leukocytes (fecal white blood cells) in the stool; leukocytes may also be found in the animal's gastrointestinal tract. Other diagnostic procedures include urine and blood tests.

Treatment

For mild cases, outpatient treatment is generally recommended. Meanwhile, dogs with a severe case of campylobacteriosis require close monitoring to prevent further complications. Your veterinarian may also recommend isolating the animal, administering an oral fluid therapy treatment for its dehydration, as well as dog antibiotics or a plasma transfusion.

Living and Management

While the dog is under treatment, it is important to keep it hydrated and watch for any worsening signs. Also, take the dog in for its follow-up treatments to ensure the bacteria have been completely removed.

Prevention

Practicing overall proper hygiene by cleaning your dog's living and eating area, and routinely disinfecting its water and food bowls, are good ways to prevent this type of bacterial infection.