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Mycoplasma in Dogs

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Mycoplasma is a bacterial organism that is capable of infecting humans, animals, plants and insects. It can affect multiple organs and in turn, create a wide array of associated disorders.

Any one of several serotypes (subtypes) of Mycoplasma can cause illness. This infection is seen in both dogs and cats. Mycoplasma is occasionally found in healthy dogs without causing disease. There is no sex, breed or age predilection.

Stress, concurrent disease, immunodeficiency/immunosuppression (poorly functioning or underactive immune system) and cancer may render an individual more susceptible to disease from Mycoplasma.

The impact on the pet can vary from a complete absence of signs to severe disease.

What to Watch For

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Sniffling
  • Straining to urinate
  • Blood in urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Abortion
  • Infertility
  • Arthritis
  • Colitis (bloody/mucoid diarrhea)
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Skin abscesses

    Diagnosis

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Biochemical profile
  • Urinalysis
  • Screening chest and abdominal X-rays
  • Culture and isolation of the organism
  • Serologic testing, or blood tests that measure antibodies or the bodies response to an organism

    Treatment

  • Depending on the severity of clinical signs, treatment options may include out-patient care or may necessitate hospitalization.

  • Supportive care, to include fluid and electrolyte therapy may be indicated.

  • Antibiotic therapy is indicated.

    Home Care and Prevention

    Administer all medication and return for follow-up as directed by your veterinarian. Prognosis is generally good in otherwise healthy animals.

    There is currently no vaccine available to prevent Mycoplasma infection. The organism is readily killed by drying, sunshine and chemical disinfection.

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