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Mycoplasma in Dogs

By: Dr. Bari Spielman

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Mycoplasma is a bacteria that can affect any age or breed of dog. It is not unusual for pets to have no symptoms; Mycoplasma has been isolated from healthy dogs. Several risk factors may render an individual more susceptible to Mycoplasma, including overall health status and environment, concurrent disease or administration of certain medications, such as corticosteroids and chemotherapy, that cause suppression of the immune system. Many systems can be affected by Mycoplasma, and in turn, a variety of clinical scenarios. Because the signs are so variable, many disorders must initially be considered.

A host of infectious agents that cause respiratory signs need to be differentiated from Mycoplasma. These include:

  • Other bacteria (Bordatella bronchiseptica, coliforms, Staphylococci, Streptococci)
  • Viral (parainfluenza virus, canine distemper)
  • Fungal (Histoplasma, Pythium, Aspergillus)

    Disorders that cause abortion, infertility, stillbirths or weak newborns need to be differentiated from Mycoplasma. These include:

  • Bacteria (Brucella, Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, Streptococcus)
  • Viruses (canine herpesvirus, canine distemper, canine adenovirus)
  • Toxoplasma gondii
  • Endocrine disorders (hypothyroidism)
  • Drug/medication administration: chemotherapy, hormones, certain antibiotics
  • Severe stress/trauma

    Disorders that cause arthritis must be ruled out. These include:

  • Immune-mediated polyarthritis
  • Bacteria (Staphylococci, Streptococci, coliforms, anaerobes)
  • Rickettsia (Ehrlichia, Borrelia burgdorferi)
  • Fungal (Coccidioides, Cryptococcus, Blastomyces)
  • Protozoa (Leishmania)

    Diseases that cause renal or urologic disorders must be considered. These include:

  • Urinary or genital tract infections
  • Balanoposthitis (inflammation of the penis and prepuce)
  • Urethritis (inflammation of the urethra)
  • Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate)
  • Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder)
  • Vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina)
  • Nephritis (inflammation of the kidney)
  • Endometritis (inflammation of the uterus)

    Diseases that cause conjunctivitis must be considered. These include:

  • Viruses
  • Bacteria

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