Bacterial Infection (Nocardiosis) Average Cost

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What is Bacterial Infection (Nocardiosis)?

The infectious disease known as Nocardiosis affects different parts of the body of the dog. It may affect the musculoskeletal, the respiratory, and the nervous system. Infection can be found in areas such as lesions under the skin and lymph nodes, along with the chest and abdomen. Organs, including the brain and liver, can also be affected. Dogs become exposed to the bacteria from decayed matter or vegetation in soil. If dogs have open wounds, especially on their paws, or if they inhale infected soil, they are susceptible to becoming ill with this bacterial infection. The disease can be chronic but is not contagious. Nocardia has a very large group of bacterium that can cause severe bacterial infections. Prevention of this infection can be done by managing the outdoor environment of the dog and by not allowing him to spend time in soil-rich, decayed, vegetated areas.

Bacterial infection, or Nocardiosis, in dogs occurs when the bacteria known as Nocardia spp, enters the dog through a wound or by inhalation. This bacteria is found in heavily soiled areas of regions where the temperature does not vary greatly between the warm and cold season, as well as in the tropic and subtropic regions.

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Symptoms of Bacterial Infection (Nocardiosis) in Dogs

Symptoms of this bacterial infection can range from mild to severe. Symptoms include:

  • Lesions
  • Inflammation of the tissues
  • Inflammation of the lungs
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Gingivitis
  • Halitosis
  • Anorexia
  • Fever 
  • Lethargy
  • Abscesses in the chest
  • Growths under the skin


The most common species of the Nocardia bacteria that can cause severe illness in a dog include:

  • N asteroides
  • N otitidiscaviarum
  • N nova
  • N brasiliensis
  • N africana
  • N abscessus
  • N elegans

Causes of Bacterial Infection (Nocardiosis) in Dogs

ocardia asteroides is the most common species of this bacteria that can adversely affect the health of dogs. Causes of bacterial infection from Nocardia include:

  • Exposure to infected soil with an open wound
  • Exposure to infected soil via inhalation
  • Immune system disorders
  • Autoimmune diseases

Diagnosis of Bacterial Infection (Nocardiosis) in Dogs

If your dog spends much of his time outdoors in an area that is heavily soiled with decaying vegetation, and he begins to exhibit any of the symptoms above, it is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

The veterinarian will ask questions about your dog’s lifestyle and questions that pertain to the symptoms, such as when they began and how long he has had them. The veterinarian will begin by doing a complete physical examination with blood testing, urinalysis, and a biochemistry profile. He will take a closer look at his symptoms and take any cultures from any abscesses, tissues, or fluids in your dog and tested for the bacteria. This test may take some time because Nocardia spp has a slow time lapse when cultured, and it may take a few days to get the results back.

The veterinarian will order radiographic testing to look for nodules, abscesses, and inflammation in the pulmonary area of your dog. This is where the veterinarian rules out several other diseases from other bacteria, such as Streptomyces or Actinomyces, which are other similar bacteria.

Treatment of Bacterial Infection (Nocardiosis) in Dogs

Treatment of nocardiosis depends on the area affected by the bacteria and the severity of the illness. Once the bacteria culture comes back positive, the veterinarian will outline the treatment plan for your companion. Treatment options include:


There are several different types of antibiotic medications that may be administered to your dog. These medications may include Amikacin, Cefotaxime, Ampicillin, Doxycycline, Gentamicin or other antibiotics of choice to fight the bacterial infection.


Depending on severity of your dog’s illness, surgical procedures may be required to help your dog quickly heal. Surgical procedures may include drainage of wounds, removal of infected tissue, removal of abnormal growths or masses, and the cleansing of any lesions.

Recovery of Bacterial Infection (Nocardiosis) in Dogs

Nocardiosis is a serious bacterial infection which must be treated over a period of time. Once the surgical procedures are complete and the antibiotics are working effectively, it is important that the veterinarian continue to see your dog for examinations. The Nocardia bacterium tends to resurface after treatment, so it is important to watch for clinical signs even after your dog has been home for a while.