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What is Bacterial Infection (Acoleplasma)?

Although bacteria are natural in your dog’s system in many forms, some types can be harmful if they are able to multiply and thrive. When they become too numerous they can cause an infection, which is quite common, especially in those with a urinary or genital tract disease or dogs with weakened immune systems. These bacteria do not have cell walls and are found almost anywhere in nature with the ability to cause diseases and infections in humans, animals, and even insects. Without cell walls, these bacteria are able to spread all over the body (i.e. respiratory tract, urinary tract, genital tract) where they can cause different conditions such as pneumonia. These are the smallest organisms capable of growing independently and can reproduce on their own. This infection can be difficult to get rid of once it spreads so it is best if you notice the symptoms and take care of it quickly. However, the symptoms of acoleplasma can be vague and go unnoticed until it has spread to other areas of your dog’s body. In some cases, this infection can cause chronic urethritis or epididymitis in your dog. Some complications in female dogs are vaginitis, enlarged uterus, and endometriosis. Complications in male dogs include prostate inflammation and abscesses.

Bacterial infection from acoleplasma is one of several groups (i.e. mycoplasma, ureaplasma, acholeplasma) of mycoplasmosis infections that are gram negative and can thrive without having the need for oxygen (anaerobic bacteria). The bacteria that cause acoleplasma are found in the genital tract of about 40% of male dogs and 60% of female dogs.

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Symptoms of Bacterial Infection (Acoleplasma) in Dogs

The symptoms of acoleplasma can vary depending on which areas of the body the bacterium have spread to, such as the respiratory tract, urinary tract, and genital tract.

The bacteria causes different types of problems and infections in each area, such as:

Acute Acoleplasma (without spreading)

  • Inflammation of the joints (polyarthritis)
  • Lameness
  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Joint pain
  • Swelling of the legs
  • Generalized edema
  • High body temperature
  • Malaise
  • Red and swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Blinking or squinting (blepharospasm)
  • Fluid build-up in eye area
  • Runny eyes

 Respiratory Tract (pneumonia, bronchitis)

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weakness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Wheezing

 Urinary Tract (cystitis, nephritis, urethritis)

  • Frequent urination
  • Pain when urinating
  • Blood in urine
  • Pain in abdominal area

 Genital Tract (vaginitis, prostatitis)

  • Tiredness
  • Straining to defecate
  • Difficult urination
  • Abdominal pain
  • Trouble walking

 Types

  • Respiratory tract acoleplasma infects the lungs and airway, causing bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Urinary tract acoleplasma can cause cystitis, nephritis, and urethritis
  • Genital tract acoleplasma causes vaginitis in females and prostate inflammation or abscesses in males

Causes of Bacterial Infection (Acoleplasma) in Dogs

All dogs are susceptible to acoleplasma, no matter the age, sex, health, or breed. This bacterium can be found anywhere and they can cause infection and disease in any human, animal, insect, and even plants. The cause of acoleplasma is a mycoplasmosis infection from one of eleven species of mycoplasma.

There are certain factors that can make a dog more susceptible to acoleplasma, such as:

  • Systemic infection that compromises the immune system (such as cancer)
  • Lower resistance due to other illness that allows the bacterium to spread into your dog’s body
  • Certain stressors, such as overcrowded living spaces, caged living, or a painful physical condition (for example, kidney stones)

Diagnosis of Bacterial Infection (Acoleplasma) in Dogs

The veterinarian will need to know what symptoms you have noticed, when they started, and if they have gotten any worse. You will need to provide the veterinarian with your dog’s complete medical history, immunizations, recent illnesses and injuries, changes in behavior, or if you have changed your dog’s food or feeding habits. Your veterinarian will perform a complete and thorough physical examination including body temperature, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and abdominal palpation. Some laboratory tests will need to be done, such as a complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistry panel, electrolyte profile, urinalysis, bacterial and fungal culture, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, and digital radiographs (x-rays).

If the infection has spread to the genital tract, the veterinarian may want to take a vaginal or prostate swab for a bacterial culture. Similarly, if the veterinarian suspects your dog may have polyarthritis he will want a culture of the fluid around the affected joints.

Treatment of Bacterial Infection (Acoleplasma) in Dogs

The most common treatment for acoleplasma is antibiotics, such as chloramphenicol, doxycycline, amoxicillin, tetracycline, or ampicillin. If the infection has spread to other parts of the body, the individual infections will have to be treated as well. The veterinarian may want to hospitalize your dog to administer oxygen therapy if the infection has reached the lungs. IV fluids, bronchodilators, and a stronger antibiotic (i.e. cephalexin) may also be provided if necessary. For the inflammation and dryness of your dog’s eyes, the veterinarian will probably prescribe a topical antibiotic or eye drops with antibiotics.

Recovery of Bacterial Infection (Acoleplasma) in Dogs

The prognosis is good for any dog that does not have a compromised immune system as long as the accompanying illnesses are successfully treated. It is important to finish using all of the medication your veterinarian prescribes exactly as directed. In addition, be sure to bring your dog back for the follow-up appointment.