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What is Bacterial Infection (Campylobacteriosis)?

Campylobacteriosis is an infectious disease that causes severe diarrhea in dogs as well as in people. Campylobacter jejuni bacteria is the cause of this disease, which is found in the intestinal tracts of animals all over the world. The most common way for your dog to become infected with campylobacteriosis is through unpasteurized milk, chicken that is not fully cooked or any other food that has been contaminated with the bacteria during its preparation. Your dog can actually be a carrier of campylobacter infection without showing any symptoms or signs at all, but can pass the infection on to other animals and people. Campylobacteriosis infection is the most common cause of diarrhea in people.

Dogs can become dehydrated much faster than people can because they do not have as many sweat glands as people do, so it takes them longer to cool off. Because of this, it is essential to get medical help for your dog as soon as you possibly can. Other complications can be dangerous to your dog if suffering from the campylobacteriosis infection, such as intussusception, which is a condition that causes one part of the bowel to slide into the other. This happens more often in puppies when they have extreme diarrhea that causes the intestinal walls to press into each other and results in an obstruction that can be fatal without immediate treatment.

The bacterial infection, campylobacteriosis, is caused by the Campylobacter jejuni bacteria that is common in animals and people everywhere in their digestive tract. These spiral shaped bacterium can cause diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, fever, and dehydration among other things. The illness is most commonly transmitted by poultry that is not completely cooked and can be a life-threatening emergency in the very young or very old.

Bacterial Infection (Campylobacteriosis) Average Cost

From 45 quotes ranging from $250 - $2,000

Average Cost

$1,600

Symptoms of Bacterial Infection (Campylobacteriosis) in Dogs

The symptoms of campylobacteriosis can be similar to many other illnesses so the infection may go unnoticed unless a complication arises. Some complications such as dehydration, intussusception, gall bladder swelling (cholecystitis), and bacterial infection in the blood (bacteremia) cause individual symptoms of their own.

Campylobacteriosis

  • Abdominal pain
  • High body temperature
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stools
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss

Dehydration

  • Loose and wrinkled skin
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Sleepiness
  • Excessive urination
  • Panting
  • Depression
  • Drooling
  • Dry gums
  • Weak pulse
  • Sunken eyes
  • Collapse

Intussusception

  • Vomiting
  • Bloody stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shock
  • Death

Gall Bladder Swelling (cholecystitis)

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice (yellow eyes and gums)
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature)
  • Weak and rapid pulse
  • Swelling in abdomen

Bacterial Infection of the Blood (bacteremia)

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Rapid heart rate
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Causes of Bacterial Infection (Campylobacteriosis) in Dogs

Puppies under six months of age living in crowded and unsanitary conditions are most at risk for campylobacter infection. Those with illness or other conditions such as parvovirus, Giardia, Salmonella, or any other parasitic infection are also at a higher risk of contracting campylobacter infection.

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Diagnosis of Bacterial Infection (Campylobacteriosis) in Dogs

The diagnosis for campylobacteriosis is pretty simple (a fecal swab and stool sample), but your veterinarian will still need to know your dog’s complete history as well as any recent illnesses or injuries your dog has had recently. The veterinarian will need to check your dog’s body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, energy level, abdomen, and spleen while waiting for the results to get finished. Some of the important information your veterinarian will need to know is the symptoms, exposure to other dogs (i.e. parks, doggie day care), if he has eaten any foreign substances or trash, changes in food, and if you have done any traveling with your dog.

To see if there are any underlying illnesses or disease, a number of tests may also be performed, such as complete blood count (CBC), electrolyte panel, urinalysis, bacterial culture, fungal swab, blood glucose, kidney, liver, and pancreatic function tests, digital radiographs (x-rays), ultrasound, and possibly an endoscopy to see the intestinal tract.

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Treatment of Bacterial Infection (Campylobacteriosis) in Dogs

The first thing your veterinarian will do, possibly even before running any diagnostic tests, is IV fluid therapy to replenish the fluid levels if your dog is dehydrated. If the condition is severe, the veterinarian may hospitalize him overnight to get control of the diarrhea and keep your dog hydrated. The most dangerous side effect for most dogs with campylobacteriosis is dehydration, so it is essential to keep your dog hydrated, which may take continuous IV fluids until the medicine starts working. The most common medication used for campylobacteriosis is an antibiotic such as azithromycin or erythromycin for about three weeks.

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Recovery of Bacterial Infection (Campylobacteriosis) in Dogs

During treatment, your veterinarian will want you to watch for any worsening of the symptoms and contact them if your dog has any recurrent diarrhea. Some medications can cause diarrhea in certain dogs and your dog cannot handle any more of that, so you need to let your veterinarian know if this happens.

As long as you catch the illness early enough, and get it treated right away, your dog’s chances of recovery are good. Be sure to watch your dog for signs of any complications such as dehydration, intussusception, gall bladder swelling (cholecystitis), and bacterial infection in the blood (bacteremia).

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Bacterial Infection (Campylobacteriosis) Average Cost

From 45 quotes ranging from $250 - $2,000

Average Cost

$1,600

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Bacterial Infection (Campylobacteriosis) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Shadow

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Border Collie

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10 Weeks

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Drops Of Blood In Stool

I've had my puppy for about 2 weeks now and he still hasn't had a solid stool. It's all diarea with drops of blood at the end, mostly around his fur round his bum. He is fine in himself he is eating, running around and playing fine. We have started feeding him in chicken and rice because we have a feeling it's the food which is upsetting his stomach. Any advice on what this could be?

May 3, 2018

Shadow's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Puppies are very prone to many parasites, and that is a common cause for soft stools, diarrhea, and blood in the stool. it would be best to have him examined by a veterinarian, and have a stool sample analyzed, to see if there is anything that he needs to have treated. I hope that everything goes well for him!

May 3, 2018

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Oscar

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Labrador Retriever

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15 Weeks

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Red fresh blood in different consistency of stools since 9 weeks. Sometimes they are mucussy sometimes ice cream soft but most have blood in it Treated with pro biotic x2 courses. Stool sample showed giardia and that's why they used the pro biotic. No improvement so given 2 weeks of erythromycin Initially significant change. 1 week after the course was completed. Blood and mucus runny stools returned. He is now back on erythromycin for 3 weeks and a sachet tonne added to food once a day. His stool is no longer all mucus with blood but is very soft and diarrhoea like when he passes it. He seems more distressed since that treatment started with going to pol more frequently. No vomiting. Putting on weight. He is well and energetic They started the abx as they said he also had campylobactria in the faecal sample. When is this going to end ??????

April 17, 2018

Oscar's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Puppies are more prone to infections from bacteria and parasites than older dogs; treatment can be long and you would need to be also practicing strict hygiene as well to prevent reinfection. In this case, I cannot give you a time frame because many cases may go on for weeks or months; a culture and sensitivity test may help find a more suitable antibiotic and confirm Campylobacteriosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 18, 2018

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Li

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Labrador American Bulldog

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7 Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Weight Loss
Vomiting

My 7 month old lab has diarrhea for two weeks and lost 5 lbs. She originally had vomiting as well. The vet dis a fecal test and called to confirm campylobacter and corona virus. She went on a course of antibiotics while we waited for the results. Now I am picking up a specific anitbiotic for the campylobacter tomorrow. She still has loose still but has gained back weight. My question is .. Is she highly contagious? Should we continue to avoid her teaining class and daycare ? Should we treat the other two dogs in our house? And do you think this could have come from her raw food? Thank you.

April 4, 2018

Li's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

I am not a fan of raw food, I see more problems with raw diets and homemade diets than with regular commercial kibbles; Campylobacter is one of those bacteria which we find in sick animals and in healthy animals but when found in cases like this we would prescribe antibiotics. I would keep Li separated from other dogs and ensure that you are following good hygiene by cleaning up faeces immediately, wiping around the anus and bleaching the flood. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 4, 2018

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Coco

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Shih Tzu

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2 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

My 2 year old has been diagnosed with campylobacter bacteria although she currently appears well. She had been vomiting bile and had a skin irritation for a few months on and off. She has been allergic to various medications in the past and I’m so scared of giving her erythromycin which the vet wants to prescribe. Is the bile vomit and skin irritation due to the campylobacter infection and is there a strong likelihood of side effects on erythromycin?

March 17, 2018

Coco's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Most common side effects of erythromycin are vomiting and diarrhoea which are common side effects with many different medications; side effects (whilst not wanted) are generally better than the condition they are treating. Unless Coco has a known issue with erythromycin or similar antibiotics I wouldn’t be too concerned at this point. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

March 17, 2018

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Bruce

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French Bulldog

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4 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

My french bulldog has been diagnosed with Campylobacteriosis and has been given a 7 day course of Erythromycin. We have only started him today, but he keeps being sick straight after. WE are giving him the tablet with his food, Im worried that this will affect the antibiotics working?

March 9, 2018

Bruce's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Vomiting is a somewhat common side effect of Erythromycin, in both dogs and people. Make sure that you are giving the medication about 1/2 hour after a FULL meal, as that should help. If he continues to have problems with the medication, he may need a different antibiotic, and your veterinarian can help you with that.

March 9, 2018

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Peggy

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Labrador Retriever

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13 Weeks

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Soft Stools
Uncontrollable
Crouching
Feels Need To Still Go
Uncontrollable Diarrhea

Labrador puppy (13 weeks) with soft stools since her arrival at 9 weeks (first week stools were worse). First decal tested for oardites was negative. She is on Hills i/d (will continue to stay on same diet); first treated with Flagyl and FortiFlora. Stools have been the same soft (no form) consistency. Two littermates were Dx with Campy. Without confirmed Dx yet, they just started her on Pro-Pectalin (2 x’s daily for 5 days) and antibiotic Azithromycin (1 x’s daily for 7 days). She is gaining weight and in good spirits. We have 6 & 9 year old labs — all pets and me have been in close contact sharing everything. I am ALWAYS vigilant about cleanup in yard, bedding, food bowls, and toys. However, my concern rises after reading others experience. Do you have any advice on how to disinfect the grass area outside? Have not have 6 & 9 year old Labradors tested — their stools are fine, they seem fine. Should I be more concerned and take their fecal in for testing? Mostly want to make sure I’m cleaning areas with the best practice possible.

Bacterial Infection (Campylobacteriosis) Average Cost

From 45 quotes ranging from $250 - $2,000

Average Cost

$1,600