Campylobacteriosis in Dogs

Overview of Campylobacteriosis in Dogs

Campylobacteriosis is a common cause of enteritis (intestinal inflammation) in man and several animal species, including dogs and cats. The disorder is caused by a bacterium, Campylobacter jejuni.

The conditions associated with an increased risk of developing campylobacteriosis are:

Campylobacteriosis is a leading cause of intestinal disease in people. Puppies and kittens can serve as a source of infection for humans. In many cases, dogs and cats are carriers of the organism, but show no clinical signs. When clinical signs are present in dogs and cats, it is usually in animals younger than six months of age.

What to Watch For

Signs of campylobacter infection in dogs may include:

Diagnosis of Campylobacteriosis in Dogs

Treatment of Campylobacteriosis in Dogs

Home Care and Prevention

There is no home care for campylobacteriosis. If your pet develops severe diarrhea, contact your veterinarian.

Avoid conditions that have been associated with spread of the disease. Isolate animals with diarrhea and improve sanitation in kennels and boarding facilities. Avoid stress and practice good hygiene, such as hand-washing after coming into contact with animals that have diarrhea.

In-depth Information on Campylobacteriosis in Dogs

Campylobacter jejuni is a bacterium that is routinely associated with diarrheal disease in dogs, cat and humans. In the past few years, Campylobacter jejuni has emerged from obscurity as a veterinary pathogen to recognition as a leading cause of enteritis in human beings.

Dogs and cats maintained in kennels and catteries, laboratories, and animal shelters have a much higher likelihood of harboring the organism than privately owned dogs and cats. The organism has been isolated from only 4 percent of clinically healthy dogs and cats. It has been isolated, however, in 21 percent of cats with diarrhea, and 29 percent of dogs with diarrhea. Puppies and kittens are more likely to acquire Campylobacter jejuni and develop diarrhea because of a lack of previous exposure and development of antibodies that protect them from disease.

The principal means of transmission is by fecal-oral spread, especially via food and water. Contaminated meat and unpasteurized milk are other common sources of infection.

The severity of the disease caused by the organism depends on the number of organisms ingested, as well as the immune status of the infected animal. Other intestinal pathogens, such as parvovirus, coronavirus, Giardia, and Salmonella, may play a synergistic role in the disease.

Dogs can carry the organism but not show any signs of disease. This is common. If clinical signs do develop, they occur most frequently in dogs younger than 6 months. Stress, such as that due to concurrent disease, hospitalization, pregnancy, or surgery can make animals more susceptible to clinical disease. The main clinical sign of illness is diarrhea, ranging from mild loose feces, to watery diarrhea, to diarrhea containing blood and mucus. The acute form that often affects puppies (and occasionally adult dogs) causes mucus-laden watery diarrhea, often accompanied by decreased appetite and occasional vomiting. Fever may also occur. In some cases, the diarrhea may last several weeks, may be intermittent, and may even last for several months.

In-depth Information on Campylobacteriosis in Dogs

The three main ways to diagnose campylobacteriosis is by using microscopic examination, culture and serology.

In-depth Information on Therapy

Follow-up Care for Dogs with Campylobacter Infections

Optimal treatment for your dog requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your pet does not rapidly improve. Administer all prescribed medications(s) as directed. Alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your pet.

Avoid stressful situations for your dog, as this is a predisposing factor for the disorder.

Campylobacter is a leading cause of intestinal disease in people. Clinical signs in people may be severe, and include fever, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort. Kittens and puppies recently acquired from pet stores or kennels are often incriminated as the source of the human infection; however, dogs and cats with no symptoms can also be a source of infection for people. The major risk factor for a person acquiring an intestinal infection with Camplylobacter jejuni is the consumption of raw or undercooked meat, particularly chicken.