What is Listeria?
Dogs that are given a raw diet instead of regular kibble may be at a higher risk of a listeria infection. All dogs are susceptible to the listeria bacteria, but young puppies and senior dogs are more likely to have a severe infection since their immune systems are weakened.
Listeria is a bacterium that has been found in water, soil and some animals such as goats, sheep, poultry, cattle, rabbits and guinea pigs. The bacteria can be passed to dogs and humans in much the same way, through meats, dairy products, and contaminated food. Dog foods have also been found to be contaminated with listeria.
Book First Walk Free!
Symptoms of Listeria in Dogs
While not all dogs that have been exposed to listeria will exhibit symptoms or become ill, those that do show symptoms will have varying degrees of illness and should always be thoroughly examined by your veterinarian. Depending on your dog’s immune system, listeria can be a fatal condition if not treated quickly.
- Muscle soreness
- Stiff neck
- Lack of coordination
- Skin infections
Causes of Listeria in Dogs
Since listeria is a bacterium that is found soil, water and some food sources it can be relatively easy for your dog to be exposed to and become infected. Listeria can be found in raw milk and any foods made from raw milk. Meats and dairy products are the main causes of listeria in dogs.
Listeria is killed by cooking and pasteurization. Therefore, never feed your dog a raw diet. Do not feed table scraps. Be aware of any recalls for your dog’s kibble as well. There have been instances where dog food has been recalled due to the presence of listeria. Be a proactive dog owner and closely monitor any raw foods that your dog may be ingesting.
Diagnosis of Listeria in Dogs
Your veterinarian will do a cursory examination of your dog and ask questions regarding diet, exercise and changes in behavior. A blood test can confirm listeria and dogs that are experiencing neurological symptoms, an analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid can also confirm that there is a listeria infection.
Your veterinarian may run several other tests to rule out other diseases and infections. If you are feeding a raw diet or your dog commonly receives table scraps, let your veterinarian know. These are definite clues that your veterinarian needs to help properly diagnose your dog’s illness.
Treatment of Listeria in Dogs
Depending upon the severity of the symptoms, treatment for listeria will vary. Mild symptoms such as slight nausea or diarrhea may be treated symptomatically with gastrointestinal medications and possible pain medications.
More severe cases of listeria could require your dog being hospitalized and immediate supportive care given. IV fluids may be necessary. Aggressive antibiotic treatment will be required in patients suffering from a severe listeria infection. Common antibiotics used for listeria include penicillin, amoxicillin, ampicillin, fluoroquinolones and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.
Recovery of Listeria in Dogs
In some severe cases, death has occurred. It is important to immediately contact your veterinarian if you notice any worsening of your dog’s condition.
Dogs that have mild symptoms will recover with a little TLC and medications. Your veterinarian will prescribe the appropriate medications and give you detailed instructions.
Dogs that have severe symptoms will recover at a slower rate. Follow your veterinarian’s treatment plan as directed and finish all medications that have been prescribed to your dog to ensure a complete recovery from a listeria infection and prevent a relapse.
Be sure to bring your dog back in for any follow-up visits with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog has fully recovered and there are no adverse effects.
Listeria Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Good Day i have a scottish terrier, my dog is refusing to eat for a week now, we do feed him dry dog food and also a raw diet we mix the 2. He is losing weight at a rapid rate, still play full does not show any signs of sickness but the eating really have me worried.
Add a comment to Scottie's experience
Was this experience helpful?
I fed my dog ham a few weeks ago and only a couple of days ago I saw that cold meats have been recalled.
My dog seems pretty energetic however she has been vomiting every now and then, sometimes she also has diorreah. I’m not sure if this is cause for concern because even though every couple of days she commits she still seems bubbly and full of life.
Should I still take her to the vet just to be safe?
Add a comment to Madison's experience
Was this experience helpful?