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What is E. Coli Infection?

E. Coli infection is commonly found in newborn puppies in the first few week's of life; however, it can be found in dogs of any age. The onset is very sudden, and can lead to serious complications, so it must be treated immediately. E. coli infection can lead to blood poisoning, or septicemia, and has been found to compound with parvovirus in dogs and puppies, leading to an increased risk of death by parvovirus.

The bacterium Escherichia coli, more commonly referred to as E. coli, resides in the lower intestines of dogs and is typically benign. However, when highly concentrated, it causes an acute reaction known as colibacillosis or E. coli infection.

E. Coli Infection Average Cost

From 36 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$1,200

Symptoms of E. Coli Infection in Dogs

  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Malaise/weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Low body temperature
  • Bluish gums, nostrils, ears, lips, and anus
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Causes of E. Coli Infection in Dogs

E. Coli infection is most commonly caused by puppies being born to an unhealthy mother. Puppies' immune systems are typically supplemented by their mother's colostrum, the antibody-rich milk produced soon after birth. When puppies do not receive colostrum for any reason, they suffer increased vulnerability to various infections. Risk factors are poor nutrition of birthing mother, unsanitary or crowded birthing environment, mammary gland infection of a nursing mother who has E. coli infection herself and prolonged birth. Causes also include contact with an infected animal or objects, such as bedding, that has been contaminated by an infected animal. It is because of these causes that E. coli infection is often contracted in conjunction with other infections, commonly parvovirus.

The best way to prevent E. coli infection in dogs is to maintain sanitary conditions in a birthing environment and maintain proper nutrition in a pregnant dog. Less commonly, dogs can get E. coli infection from contaminated food or water. In common kennel areas, regular cleaning of facilities is a source of prevention, as is proper nutrition. Feeding a raw diet may increase a dog’s risk, as can exposure to an infected dog, cat, or person. Be sure to maintain proper hygiene for your dog and yourself. Wash your dog’s food bowl after each meal, if you have multiple pets and you suspect one is infected, keep them separate. Additionally, wash your hands after handling food and dogs.

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Diagnosis of E. Coli Infection in Dogs

A speedy diagnosis will depend upon seeking prompt veterinary care and describing your dog's risk factors for E. Coli infection. A sample of your dog's feces will be taken and examined underneath a microscope, and the veterinarian will conduct a physical rectal examination to check for abnormalities. A complete blood count will be taken to measure red and white blood cells, as a decrease in white blood cells is one of the first signs of parvovirus. Your dog's blood will also be analyzed for a biochemistry profile, which will determine if E. coli is present in your dog's blood and at what levels, as well as indicate if your dog has blood poisoning. A urinalysis will also indicate if there are any further abnormalities, which may indicate other concurrent issues.

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Treatment of E. Coli Infection in Dogs

If your dog tests positive for E. coli infection, he will very likely need to be hospitalized in order to achieve stabilization and begin treatment. This will include an IV in order to restore and maintain fluid and electrolyte levels. In the case of severe dehydration accompanied by diarrhea, your dog will be given an oral solution of glucose. Typically antibiotics, such as ceftiofur, cephalexin, and cefpodoxime, will be prescribed to treat the E. coli infection itself. Because of the rapid onset of the infection, timing of treatment correlates to a dog’s chance of success. There is very high morbidity, over 95%, in young puppies that are left untreated, and a chance that death can occur even with treatment.

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Recovery of E. Coli Infection in Dogs

Provide your dog with a warm and very comfortable space to rest, possibly in a cage, during recovery period. Restrict activity and monitor vitals and behavior carefully. The veterinarian may have specific nutritional instructions for your dog, such as bottle-feeding, during this period. If your puppy is under six weeks old, and the mother is unavailable or infected, your puppy may continue to require intravenous nutrients and hospital monitoring.

You will bring your dog back into the veterinarian for regular blood tests in order to monitor the levels of E. coli infection in your dog’s blood. Be sure to contact the veterinarian immediately should you notice a change in your dog’s body temperature and health.

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Cost of E. Coli Infection in Dogs

An E. Coli infection is dangerous for anyone to suffer from, even your furry family members. For puppies, the timing of the treatment is just as important as the treatment itself. A trip to the veterinarian’s office is always necessary! The veterinarian will need to hospitalize your dog and start him on intravenous fluids to help regulate his electrolytes and prevent severe dehydration. This can cost between $67 and $95. If severe dehydration has already occurred then, your dog may need an oral solution of glucose which can cost around $40 on average. Your dog will also need antibiotics to fight off the infection. Normally, antibiotics can run between $10 and $30. However, an E. Coli infection requires specific antibiotics, and they can be pricey. Ceftiofur is a liquid antibiotic and can cost around $200-$224 per 100ml bottle. Cephalexin 500mg is an antibiotic that comes in tablet form and are sold in 100ct bottles for $30-$45. Finally, Cefpodoxime 200mg also comes in a tablet form and can be sold for $200 per 100ct bottle.

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E. Coli Infection Average Cost

From 36 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$1,200

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E. Coli Infection Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Sky

dog-breed-icon

Border Collie

dog-age-icon

9 Months

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Farting Really Bad And It Smells

My dog has been farting really bad because when I got home I saw raw eggs on the kitchen floor and I am pretty sure he ate some of them. After that I have been noticing that he has been farting so bad and it smells so bad also. Does this mean he's gonna get e coli or salmonella?

Aug. 31, 2018

Sky's Owner

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Penny

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Havanese

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

My dog was in the water in north van and drank a bit. She has been vomiting for 24 hours and extremely lethargic. Hasn’t eaten anything yesterday or today water has been minimal. I think my dog has E. coli is there anything we can do and give her from home while we wait for our vet appointment tomorrow??

Aug. 2, 2018

Penny's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Lake and river water is full of lots of nasty stuff including bacteria, parasites, toxins (in some places) among other things; you should ensure that Penny stays hydrated if she keeps vomiting but if she is unable to keep anything down you should visit an Emergency Veterinarian to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 2, 2018

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Jasper

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Beagle

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Vommiting Blood, Anemia

We recently lost two dogs to e.coli. The first was being treated for IAMH when the second starting exhibiting symptoms. The first one passed and his necropsy showed the cause was e.coli. Despite immediately being put on antibiotics, too much damage had been done and we lost the second one. We don't know where they picked it up and are concerned about getting another dog. Found no dead animals in yard, and filled in a pond they drank out of. How long can an e.coli contamination last in a yard that contains no feces and obvious source for e.coli?

May 19, 2018

Jasper's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

One problem with E. coli is that it is a normal inhabitant of the gastrointestinal tract, however there are various different types of E. coli which may affect animals (and humans) and may be picked up from faecal material, contaminated food among other sources. I cannot say specifically how it was picked up because E. coli is a ‘normal’ finding in faecal tests. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.cdc.gov/ecoli/general/index.html

May 20, 2018

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Harley

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Yorkie-Silky

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8 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

No Symptoms.

Just curious to know if dogs can carry E. Coli without necessarily being symptomatic. What precipitates that question is that I keep experiencing digestive issues that seem to be infectious in nature, but we can't figure out what the source is. In doing some research, I found that dogs MIGHT carry E. Coli without the owner's awareness, then pass it on to the owner (I do allow Harley to kiss me on the mouth, and he's a Yorkie/Silky mix, so he's a licker!). Harley himself seems quite spry and healthy, with no apparent symptoms at all. Any feedback greatly appreciated!

April 27, 2018

Harley's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Finding E. coli in a dog’s faeces is around as normal as a dog wanting to chew on a bone; it is a finding which is considered ‘normal’ and most dogs are asymptomatic, whether or not it is related to your health issues is another question. I never recommend an owner to allow a dog to kiss their mouth, kissing of the neck only out of the interests of hygiene since they lick themselves, may lick or eat things from the floor etc… Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 28, 2018

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Lady

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English Bulldog

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5 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy, Fever, And Vomiting.

Hello, my started her heat about 4 days ago. She has been fine until late-night when she became very lethargic and vomited twice. This morning we noticed some thick bloody/pus liquid coming out of her vagina. We brought her to the vet today. They say she has ecoli and needs surgery to remove her uterus. Does this seem correct to You? She also had a 105temp.

Feb. 28, 2018

Lady's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Pyometra is a common disease in unspayed female dogs, and can very quickly become a life-threatening emergency. If your veterinarian is recommending surgery, it would be best to have that done. I hope that she is okay.

Feb. 28, 2018

We are I just wanted another opinion. She is there now we're hoping they will be doing the surgery tomorrow. Thank you.

Feb. 28, 2018

Lady's Owner

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JJ

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Beagle

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Serious severity

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Dry Hack, Congested Cough

My dog was diagnosed with severe pneumonia from e-coli being in her lungs. She spent time in an oxygene chamber and amazingly lived. She has been on Clavaseptin about 93mg every 12 hours for the last 11 days but the cough has not cleared up.It certainly is much less than before she was admitted to the hospital. The vet then prescribed a higher dosage of 125 mg every 12 hours but her coughing seems to have increased. I noticed that the first 24 hours of her with the new dosage, her coughing has gotten more frequent again and is very harsh, deep, dry coughing with a significant dry hack at the end of her coughing fit. Does the antibiotic encourage coughing so that she can expel it from her lungs? It just seems as though she is getting far worse with her coughing. Could these antibiotics possibly be needed for months before I notice a significant positive improvement? Thank you.

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Norman

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Brussels griffon

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea, Vomiting, Anorexia

My 8 yr old Brussels Griffon was diagnosed with HUC (hystiocystic ulcerative colitis). As a puppy we had bouts of diarrhea/colitis which cleared up when giving metronidazole and sulfasalazine. Last August 2018 he got a bout of diarrhea that didn’t clear up and actually got worse. Metronidazole & sulfasalazine were given for a longer period with no resolution. By December we were sent to a specialist who did an ultrasound and purposed the possibility of HUC - a certain type of diarrhea/colitis seen in boxers and 1 French bull dog, but never documented in a Brussels Griffon. The treatment for HUC (which is an invasion of the large bowel mucosa by E. coli causing ulcerations and resulting in mucous/bloody stools) was Baytril. We put my dog on a daily dose of Baytril for 5 months and almost instantly his diarrhea improved. He was in remission for three months post treatment, but as of July 2019 he relapsed. At that time the vet believed his diarrhea/colitis was caused by a food allergy - as a puppy he was very itchy and I did a food exclusion diet and found out (myself without the help of a vet) he had a food sensitivity to chicken. He had been eating acana lamb & apple for years and for 4 yrs straight he never had any bouts of diarrhea. The vet attempted to put him on Rayne kangaroo diet which he adamantly refused to eat. I returned the food only to have the vet suggest a Rayne rabbit diet. He refused to eat that as well and at that time his diarrhea/colitis got worse...lots of mucous and increased frequency. The vet finally agreed with me and prescribed another course of Baytril. Within a day my dogs bowel movements improved! But, he began vomiting and is now anorexic. He absolutely refuses to eat the rabbit dog food prescribed so I returned it to the vet. He visited the vet yesterday as he was very lethargic and I am very concerned. He received subcutaneous fluids, anti-emetic (cerenia) and they drew blood. His blood work came back with a slight elevation in alk phos and a pancreatic enzyme (?lipase). His kidney function is normal. I put him back on his old food, acana lamb and his appetite has improved but he remains quite lethargic. He also has an interesting symptom of an increase in itchiness when his colitis flares - I believe this is why the vet thinks he has a food allergy. And, just prior to the relapse in colitis this past July, the whites of his eyes became quite red and remain reddened. He rubs his left eye quite frequently. When I was at the vet yesterday, the vet checked his tear production and also made sure he didn’t have a corneal ulcer. Both tests came back negative. A website I came across suggested that long term use of Baytril could cause canine cataract. I spoke with the vet about this and she was pretty sure that there were no instances to suggest cataract development in Baytril use. Another interesting “symptom” my dog has developed is a left sided heart murmur. He never had a heart condition until his vet visit this past July. Does anyone else have a similar experience with HUC and E. coli? And if so, what worked for you and your dog? I am desperate to treat my dog. This entire situation is incredibly frustrating and I fear my dog’s health is getting worse! We have an appointment with an internist in September and hopefully we can arrange a colonoscopy to determine once and for all exactly what is going on.

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Dozer

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Rottweiler

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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

Serious severity

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Stool

Hi my friend has a purebred rotti his skin has started eating itself she has been to the vet it has cost over 7000 he was put on several antibiotics no help they finally did blood test after she asked them repeatedly it came back ecoli they recommend a raw diet of chicken he has lost so much weight she got up this morning to diarrhoea and blood everywhere in her laundry she is taking him back to this vet I’m extremely worried what do u advise

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Tupper

dog-breed-icon

Chihuahua/Pomeranian

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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

Serious severity

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Frequent Urination
Urination In Her Sleep
Sporatic Ear And Skin Infections
Excessive Water Drinking
Redness In Area Of Infection

Hello, my 10 year old Chihuahua/Pomeranian dog has had UTI infections on and off for 2 1/2 years now. She also had issues in the past with bladder stones. She is on a HP diet due to these issues and some skin allergy concerns. Right now the main issue seems to be these UTI infections - they just won't go away. She just had a full work up which showed an E-coli infection which is being treated for 3 days now. We haven't seen much improvement. Is there anything else besides the course of antibiotics that can be done? She's so miserable - constant urination, urination in her sleep and more than normal water intake. We have 1 dog that loves to give kisses, especially to areas of concern with her -- could this be the cause or contribute to the cause?

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Toby

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English bull terrior

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Severe Diarrhea And Not Able To Wal
Severe Diarrhea Difficulty Walking

Hello our 5 yr old English Bull Terrier had severe diarrhea and had difficulty walking. We immediately took him to the emergency vet. They put him on IV fluids, took xrays and admitted him. Possible obstruction in intestines was suspected pending further X-ray. 24 hrs later vet recommended exploratory surgery to confirm or deny obstruction. Surgery was done but no obstruction was found. Bacterial infection was diagnosis. He was given an injection of antibiotics and sent home with internal sutures, anti-diarrhea medication as well as pain meds and put on a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice. 4 days later the incision started to abscess so we rushed him back. The infection required a 3 and a half hour surgery to remove abscesses and 3 layers of stitching including staples as the sutures would not hold. Results of cultures revealed e-coli and strep. He is still in vet hospital and we just got word the incision is starting to abscess again. The vet is starting more specific anti-biotics to treat those types of bacteria. A week before this happened Toby spent 3 days at a board and care over the holidays. Could he have picked up these nasty bugs there? The vet is just telling us they are doing everything they can. We are concerned he might not make it. Any other advice on treatment would be appreciated. Thank you

E. Coli Infection Average Cost

From 36 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$1,200

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