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Dogs + Infectious Diseases

  • Anthrax is a bacterial infection that can affect dogs if exposed to large amounts of bacterial-produced spores such as by terrorist attack or ingesting large quantities from infected meat. The organism that causes anthrax, Bacillus anthracis, produces spores that are resistant to typical disinfection methods and heat. These spores can last up to 40 years in the environment. Anthrax is usually spread through inhalation or ingestion of spores from infected meat, although cutaneous exposure can occur. Symptoms depend on the type of exposure and can include: black skin pustules, pneumonia, acute gastroenteritis with hemorrhagic vomiting and diarrhea, oral ulcerations, fever, weight loss, swelling of the neck, face and head and ultimately sepsis and death if not treated. Treatment requires antibiotics and can be highly effective in early stages. There currently is no canine vaccine.

  • Antibiotic resistant bacterial infections are bacterial infections that are minimally or no longer responsive to commonly used antibiotics. In other words, these bacteria are resistant to antibiotics - they cannot be killed and their growth cannot be stopped. An infection that does not respond appropriately to an antibiotic is suggestive of an antibiotic resistant bacterial infection.

  • Antibodies are specialized proteins, also called immunoglobulins that are primarily found in the bloodstream. They are produced by specialized white blood cells called plasma cells, a form of lymphocyte.

  • This handout discusses aspergillosis in dogs, an infection, growth, or allergic response caused by the Aspergillus fungus. If your dog becomes infected, it can be confined to the nasal passages (nasal aspergillosis), or it can spread throughout the body (systemic aspergillosis). The clinical signs, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of both conditions are outlined.

  • Atovaquone is given by mouth and is used off-label to treat protozoal infections. Give as directed. Side effects are uncommon but may include stomach upset or skin rash. Do not use in pets that are pregnant. If a negative reaction occurs, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

  • Babesiosis is a disease that can be spread by multiple species of ticks and affect both dogs and people. It can be a persistent infection to treat and might not fully be cleared from the body. Treatment may involve multiple drugs and tick control is recommended in at risk regions for at risk pets.

  • Bacterial pneumonia is an inflammation of the lung, usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection, but can be caused by inhalation of an irritant. Typical signs of bacterial pneumonia include fever, difficulty breathing, lethargy, and coughing. As these can also be caused by other diseases, diagnostics include a full physical exam, blood work, and radiographs, and may also require bronchoscopy or tracheal lavage to collect samples for cytology and bacterial culture and sensitivity. Treatment includes the use of one or more antibiotics that ideally would be selected using the results of a culture. Affected dogs may also require hospitalization and supportive care including intravenous fluids. The prognosis depends on the severity of the disease and whether there are any predisposing factors.

  • Dogs appear to be more susceptible to blastomycosis than many other species. The blastomycosis fungus seems to target the respiratory tract, although it may spread throughout the entire body. Cytology and/or histopathology are required to diagnose blastomycosis conclusively. Itraconazole is the preferred drug of treatment for most dogs. Prognosis is good for many cases of blastomycosis infection with recovery rates between 50-75%.

  • Dogs are exposed to botulism by eating raw meat or dead animals containing botulinum toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum. Botulism causes ascending paralysis of the nervous system. Clinical signs are reviewed as well as diagnostic tests and treatment. Prognosis is guarded depending on the amount of toxin ingested and the degree of supportive care available. There is no vaccine.

  • Brucellosis is a contagious bacterial infection that can cause a number of reproductive problems, including infertility and abortion in breeding dogs. Male dogs infected with brucellosis develop epididymitis, an infection of the testicle. Female dogs infected with brucellosis develop an infection of the uterus. The infection is usually diagnosed by a blood test (rapid slide agglutination test). Treatment with antibiotics is not significantly effective and infected dogs should be removed from the breeding population. In the United States, brucellosis is a reportable disease.

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