Several bacteria of the salmonella species are capable of producing acute
infectious diarrhea in dogs. Salmonella remain alive for many months or years
in soil and manure. In dogs, the disease is acquired by consuming raw or
commercially contaminated foods, by eating animal manure, or by making oral
contact with surfaces that have been contaminated by the diarrhea of an
infected dog. This bacterial infection is a risk in dogs fed a raw diet, unless
excellent food-handling hygiene is practiced at all times.
Puppies and young adults are most susceptible, as are dogs whose natural
resistance has been compromised by a viral infection, malnutrition, parasites, or being housed in crowded, unsanitary
Estrus, or heat, is the stage in a female dog's reproductive cycle during which she becomes receptive to mating with males. At this time, estrogen levels first increase and then sharply decrease, and mature eggs are released from the ovaries. Ideally, your dog should be spayed before she enters her first heat cycle.
Signs of illness include fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. The stool may be bloody and
foul smelling. Dehydration develops when vomiting and diarrhea are
prolonged. Bacteria in the bloodstream can cause abscesses in the liver,
kidneys, uterus, and lungs. The acute illness, which lasts four to ten days,
may be followed by a chronic diarrhea that persists for more than a month. Dogs
with chronic diarrhea shed salmonella in their feces and are a potential source
of infection to other animals and humans.
Treatment: Mild cases respond well to fluid replacement. Many salmonella
species are resistant to common antibiotics. In fact, antibiotics can favor the growth
of resistant bacteria and prolong fecal shedding of bacteria. Accordingly, antibiotics are used
only for seriously ill dogs. Sulfa drugs and the quinolones are the antibiotics
Public health considerations: Salmonellosis is a zoonotic disease, so care
must be taken to practice excellent hygiene when dealing with a dog with
salmonellosis. It is important to wear gloves when cleaning up feces and to
disinfect areas where an affected dog has eliminated.
Bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria are frequently found in dogs with the kennel cough complex and other
respiratory diseases. Signs of upper respiratory illness caused by bordetella
include a dry, hacking cough accompanied by a clear nasal or eye
discharge. In puppies and immune-compromised adult animals, secondary
bacterial invasion of the lower respiratory tract following viral illness may
cause life-threatening pneumonia. Dogs who are carrying the organism and may
not even be ill themselves, may still cough or exhale the organism into the
air. Healthy dogs can then be infected by breathing in that contaminated